Indian pharma draws Chinese industry into trade pact

Indian drugmakers are aiming to team up with China in a bid to outpace western drugmakers who've been scrambling to grab market share in both countries. Industry leaders on both sides of their common border are inking an agreement to collaborate and boost bilateral trade.

As growth in the developed world slows, drugmakers' eyes are turning to emerging markets as a sales-building strategy. India and China, of course, are among the most promising prospects, because of their rapidly growing middle classes and increased investment in healthcare. The pace of Big Pharma dealmaking has rattled government officials, especially in India, which has been considering protections for ts domestic pharma industry.

So, why not join forces to build up their own trade? That's been India's contention: Its pharma association has been looking to cooperate with Chinese drugmakers to turn out generic meds not only for their own markets, but for the rest of the world. Now, Indian officials have negotiated an agreement with China's pharma industry association. "The collaboration between the two will give an edge over the developed countries. Together we can meet the generic drugs' requirements of the world," industry association chief Daara Patel told India Today.

It's unclear whether the collaboration agreement will end up bearing much fruit; it could simply be a symbolic gesture on China's part. And it's China that holds more power, in this situation at least. Though bilateral drug trade has grown, the growth has mostly been in China's exports to India rather than vice-versa.

- read the India Today piece
- get more from the Business Standard