Indian Pharma companies have focused more on high-margin exports, thereby giving the Chinese an opportunity to enter the lower-margin Indian market..

Bulk Drug Industry is the backbone of the self-reliant Pharmaceutical industry in India. Indian bulk drugs market in 2006 was about US$3.29 billion, witnessing a growth of 19% over 2005 at CAGR of 18.81% in the last six years. India ranks 4th in terms of volume, among the top 15 drug manufacturing countries worldwide. Indian companies have the distinction of developing cost-effective technologies for manufacturing bulk drugs and intermediates, conforming to global standards. India has over 80 US FDA approved plants, the second highest in the world.

Indian bulk drug market is fragmented with top 10 companies contributing 44% of the market and about 1,323 companies accounting for the balance 56%. Nearly 70% of the bulk drugs, manufactured are exported to more than 50 countries. Contract manufacturing in India in 2006 was USD658.6 million, registering a growth of 48% over previous year. Indian companies have filed 408 DMF’s during 2006 out of a total 704. By 2010, Indian bulk drugs market is projected to grow to about US$6.54 billion and contract manufacturing to USD1.5billion.

Nearly 70 per cent of the bulk drugs produced in the country are exported. The strength of the Indian bulk drug industry lies in producing API at much lower cost than even the originators of the respective molecules.

  • The bulk drugs industry consists of large, medium and many small-scale units providing direct employment to about 2,00,000 and indirect employment to another 2,00,000 personnel.
  • The Indian bulk drug industry has gone through several developmental phases in the past five decades and has now emerged as a major supplier of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to the global markets.
  • An analysis of quarterly performance of the bulk drug industry by taking into consideration 20 major companies have shown that the net sales have increased by 29.1% to Rs 30,146.6m in March 2006

Some of the major bulk drugs exported are

  1. Menthol (US$ 9.23 mn),
  2. efadroxil (US$ 4.20 mn),
  3. cephalexin & ITS Salts (US$ 2.27 mn),
  4. sulphamethoxazole (US$ 2.02 mn),
  5. penicillin(US$1.95mn), other antibiotics (US$ 1.91 mn),
  6. tinidazole (US$1.05 mn),
  7. ethambutol (US$ 0.64 mn),
  8. timolol maleate (US$ 0.57 mn),
  9. niacinamide (US$ 0.49 mn) and
  10. amoxycilline & ITS Salts (US$ 0.49 mn).

Industry estimates show that 70-80 bulk drug units had to shut down because of cheaper imports from China. The entire penicillin G intermediate requirement of the country is met by Chinese imports.

Some major Indian players

  1. Ind-Swift Labs,
  2. Aarti Drugs,
  3. Cipla,
  4. Lupin,
  5. Vedant Drugsand Fine Chemicals,
  6. Emmellen Biotech(EBPL),
  7. Hindustan Latex, Mahima Exports,
  8. Tristar Pharmaceuticals,
  9. Varahi Pharmachem,
  10. Hem Deep Organics,
  11. Kalvik Laboratories Pvt. Ltd,
  12. Biochemical and Synthetic Products,
  13. Lakshmi Organics