Indian pharma eyes $60B in lost patents

While Big Pharma bewails the forthcoming loss of patent protection on many top-selling drugs, the knock-off drug business is rubbing its hands in anticipation. Just witness the Indian pharma industry, which is positioning itself to capture as much of that business as it can.

Considering that nearly $60 billion worth of drugs fall off patent over the next four years, who could blame Indian drugmakers for angling for their share? After all, they've spent years building up their generics businesses. "While we are not too much into new drug inventions, we are quite strong in manufacturing formulations and bulk drugs," J. Jayaseelan of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association tells the Times of India. "When the $60 billion worth of patents expire ... Indian companies will be able to capture a major chunk of the market."

In fact, Indian pharma firms are gathering over the weekend to discuss how they plan to do that. One strategy has to be hooking up with multinational drugmakers. After all, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Daiichi Sankyo and now AstraZeneca have forged ties in India for that very reason: To gain access to that generics capability and the attached sales-and-distribution networks. It may just be that when Indian drugmakers capture a share of the off-patent market, they'll be bringing Big Pharma along, too.

- read the Times piece