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Evolving from generics

India is a hot mkt for products, services and jobs, writes N Madhavan. Click to know more about jobs and topline courses in healthcare, pharma and biotech.
Hindustan Times | By Narayanan Madhavan
UPDATED ON JUL 24, 2007 06:44 PM IST

In a world where health is the key driver for everything else, India, a nation of 100 crore people, is a hot market for products and services on the one hand, and for jobs on the other. Hospitals need people — not only doctors, but also other service and technical personnel — while drugs manufacturers need researchers and technicians of various types. A career that bets on the global need for better health is surely a promising avenue.

Research by job portal Naukrihub says India accounts for 2 per cent of the world’s pharmaceutical market, with an estimated value of about $8 billion. The country ranks fourth in terms of total pharmaceutical production and 13th in terms of their value. It is growing at an average of 7.2 per cent annually and is expected to grow to $12 billion by 2010. Over the last two years, the value of the global pharmaceuticals market has increased to about $355 billion, largely aided by the launch of new products.

Tips & Tricks

  • Being a skill-oriented industry, both educational background and experience are vital
  • In this dynamic industry, openness to learning is important
  • Willingness to take up responsibilities is another key asset
  • Aptitude tests also cover general English, maths, general knowledge and reasoning abilities

Pharmaceuticals account for about 3 per cent of foreign direct investment flowing into the country. According to the latest government Economic Survey, the pharmaceuticals industry had achieved a turnover of about $12 billion in 2005-06, and is expected to grow by 13 per cent in 2007.

After India enacted a product patent law in 2005, global pharmaceutical giants found adequate protection to do research in India to generate and protect intellectual property. Multinationals like AstraZeneca and Indian players like Ranbaxy and Dr. Reddy’s are actively doing drug research in India.

Jobs List

Research & development

  • Freshers: PhD, M Pharm, or MSc (in analytical chemistry or organic chemistry)
  • Group leaders: 5+ years of experience in the delivery system or chemistry segment
  • Managers/vice-presidents


  • Trainee medical representatives:BSc/BPharm. There is a career progression plan for high-potential candidates. People who do well in domestic marketing are considered for international assignments
  • Management trainee: Mostly for product management, needs BPharm + an MBA in pharmaceutical management
  • Product officer/product executive/Product manager/group product manager: BPharm + MBA in pharmaceutical management + increasing years of experience

Source: HR Department, Sun Pharmaceuticals

India is also critical because companies like Cipla and Ranbaxy are also developing generic versions of branded global drugs at cheaper rates. With patents of more than 30 blockbuster (high-selling) drugs of multinational pharma companies scheduled to expire over the next four years, the generic market is expecting to grow manifold from the current level of more than $70 billion.

There are research jobs to be had at institutes such as the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Hyderabad.

In the healthcare segment, Max, Fortis and Apollo are the larger companies offering clinical care and surgery. In this industry, the earnings from ‘medical tourism’ packages, which offer cost-effective healthcare to foreigners, are going up fast.

Among the newer avenues in the life sciences industries are contract research and pharma outsourcing, which are expected to be together worth more than $30 billion in a few years’ time, according to Naukrihub.

All that means a lot of business in the coming years — and careers to match.

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