Generics market to bulk up by $100B in 5 years

With leading generics makers moving into branded drugs as a hedge against slowing growth of the copycat industry, one might think the knockoff-drug business has transfigured into a tortoise, or perhaps a fast-hopping hare after a heart attack. But Frost & Sullivan researchers have put out some new numbers on the generics market, and they remind us the business is still running strong.

According to the firm, the global market for generic drugs is expected to hit $231 billion by 2017, up from $124 billion in 2010. That's an increase of more than $100 billion, or an annual growth rate of almost 10%. The drivers of course include generic versions of blockbuster drugs fast falling off patent. But societal shifts are also bearing fruit for generics makers: Populations are aging and chronic diseases are spreading geographically. And then there's the increasing cost-consciousness of government payers around the world.

Plus, generics companies have yet to fully tap the "huge potential" of copycat drug sales in China, India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, South Korea... basically, the emerging markets that Big Pharma have been working so hard to conquer. The advent of biosimilars is another new frontier expected to help build up the industry.

Caveats? Well, the generics makers that will grow most are those that focus on higher-tech formulations and specialty drugs, rather than the easily commoditized tablets and capsules common in primary care. As Frost & Sullivan analyst Aiswariya Chidambaram says: "The trend is shifting towards less competitive, yet commercially attractive segments such as difficult-to-produce generics, specialty generics and biosimilars." Other winners include products with limited availability of APIs, Chidambaram added.

- get the release from Frost & Sullivan
- see the story at PM Live