Indian ministers: Protect pharma from takeover

Pharma's dealmaking frenzy has Indian officials plotting a push-back. Drugmakers enamored of emerging markets--and on the prowl for buyouts--are naturally eyeing the subcontinent. Though the attention may seem like a compliment, government ministers see it as a threat, and so they're urging a series of measures to strengthen domestic pharmas against unwanted suitors.

"(The) Indian pharmaceutical industry being fragmented with small balance sheet sizes, takeover by global pharmaceutical companies would adversely affect the health interests of the nation," a pharma-exporting task force reported to India's Commerce Ministry. Indeed, there are more than 10,000 drugmakers in the country, largely small generics makers.

If Indian drugmakers can manage to stay independent, they could benefit greatly from the coming surge of off-patent drugs. Government officials expect some 65 billion worth of drug sales to be up for grabs over the next few years.

- read the story in the Times of India