Pfizer gains ground in India, but Abbott still rules

India has been a jewel in Big Pharma's eye for some time now, so we've heard over and over about drugmakers buying companies, setting up partnerships and otherwise investing on the subcontinent. Whose efforts are delivering the biggest growth? Market researchers have one answer: Pfizer ($PFE).

The world's biggest drugmaker clocked 31.2% growth in Indian sales for the month of November and 22.6% growth for the 12 months ending with that period, the Business Standard reports. The next-fastest growth for a foreign drugmaker in India came from Abbott Laboratories ($ABT), which posted 24.9% and 15.8%, respectively. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) counted 23.1% for the month and 12.8% for the 12-month period.

Pfizer's managing director in India, Kewal Handa, told the Standard the company launched 40 branded generics in 2011 and plans to introduce another 30 this year, including the entire women's health line acquired along with Wyeth. It's fielding 2,500 sales people and plans to add more, Handa said.

Note, however, that Pfizer's Indian sales still lag far behind its Big Pharma rivals' numbers. Abbott remains by far the largest drugmaker in India with 3,625 crore rupees (about $690 million) in 12-months-ended-November sales. GlaxoSmithKline is in fourth place overall--and second place among multinationals--with 2,738 crore. Pfizer, by contrast, saw 12-month sales at 1,859 crore (about $350 million), which puts it in eighth place by volume.

- read the Standard story