India INDIA'S pharmaceutical industry is looking to partner with Malaysian companies to expand manufacturing of off-patented medicines, said a visiting Indian government official.

Joint Secretary of the Department of Pharmaceuticals from the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers Devendra Chaudhry said the industry is "on the cusp" of another breakthrough similar to the information technology (IT) boom India enjoyed in the 1990s."We are keen to have joint venture partnerships for production and export to third countries, towards building our Pharma India Vision 2020,”.

Chaudhry said India is also looking to forge pharmaceutical partnerships with businesses in other countries in the region, including Indonesia and Thailand.

We are also keen to develop a partnership in human capital building in this sector in Malaysia."

The pharmaceutical industry has only contracted about 2 per cent during the economic downturn, Chaudhry said, which shows that consumer spending for healthcare will continue to remain strong.

He said India's target is to increase the volume of its pharmaceutical exports to Malaysia to US$100 million (RM364 million) in two years, from US$39.9 million (RM145.23 million) last year.

India exports US$1.38 billion (RM5.02 billion) worth of pharmaceuticals, of which US$497.7 million (RM1.81 billion) goes to the Asean region. The largest export destinations for its generic manufactures are the US and Europe, making up 34 per cent of exports.

Growth will be fuelled by multi-billion dollar patent expirations and growth in the global generics market, and exports are poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.5 per cent in 2011-12.

It is eyeing US$70 billion (RM254.8 billion) worth of patents that will expire in 2015.

Chaudhry said India also wants to become a global hub of novel and innovative patented drugs.

"In the area of innovation, we are looking to capture 15-20 per cent of the world's research and development pipeline, with every fifth drug to be developed in India," he said.

The 26-member delegation, mostly from the small- and medium-sized enterprises in India, will be visiting the three countries from March 29 till April 9.