The booming pharma sector would act as a major catalyst in enhancing the India and South Africa bilateral trade to $12 billion by 2010, said an industry chamber.
Apart from promoting the exports of Indian pharmaceutical products to South Africa, both the countries should actively engage in enhancing collaboration and joint ventures in segments such as clinical trials and research and development, according to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).
Indian pharma companies such as Ranbaxy, Wockhardt, Cipla, DRL have already entered joint venture partnerships with several South African companies.
However, these companies are also facing few stumbling blocks in terms of registration, grant of permission, and procedural timeframes among others, FICCI said.
In South Africa, the largest pharmaceutical market in Africa, registration of pharmaceutical products takes 24-36 months times besides other problems such as the absence of single window clearance and extremely stringent guidelines for standard of quality.
The chamber also highlighted that the South African market is the most regulated market in Africa compared to Nigeria, Kenya and others.
It is expected that the South African market will continue to expand at a rate of four percent per annum, where the most serious healthcare concern is the rise of HIV/AIDS and it also has the highest infection rates in the world, the study said.
Thus it can take the advantage of India, where the cost of setting up a plant is 40 per cent cheaper compared to the developed countries. Also, the cost of bulk drug production in India is 60-70 per cent less compared to western countries.
Next week, heads of state of India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) would begin their summit level meetings in Johannesburg Oct 15-17 to promote South-South cooperation and dialogue. FICCI will also be taking a business delegation to the summit.