Pharmaceutical market in India to grow to US$ 55B by 2020

The pharmaceutical sector was valued at US$ 33 billion in 2017, and projected to grow to US $55 Billion by 2020, from US $20 billion in 2015.

  • Definition / Scope
  • Market Overview
  • Top Market Opportunities
  • Market Drivers
  • Market Restraints
  • Industry Challenges
  • Technology Trends
  • Pricing Trends
  • Regulatory Trends
  • Market Size and Forecast
  • Market Outlook
  • Key Market Players
  • Strategic Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendix

Definition / Scope

India is the biggest provider of generic medications internationally using all the Indian generics accounting for 20 percent of global exports concerning volume. The nation also has a huge pool of engineers and scientists having the capability to steer the business forward to a much greater degree.

 This report provides a quantitative analysis on current trends, opportunities, challenges, the market size and key players of The Pharmaceutical Market In India.

Market Overview

Currently, over 80 percent of antiretroviral drugs used worldwide to fight AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are provided by Indian pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical industry in India ranks 3rd in the world terms of volume and 14th in terms of value.

Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Ahmedabad are the major pharmaceutical hubs of India. India has the 2nd largest number of USFDA-approved manufacturing plants outside the US. India has 2,633 FDA-approved drug products. India has over 546 USFDA-approved company sites, the highest number outside the US. 

Top Market Opportunities

  • The increase in the size of middle-class households coupled with the improvement in medical infrastructure in the country is likely to provide the opportunities for the pharmaceuticals sector.
  • India’s cost of production is nearly 33 percent lower than that of the US. Labor costs are 50–55 percent cheaper than in Western countries. The cost of setting up a production plant in India is 40 percent lower than in Western countries. 
  • The government’s ‘Start-Up India’ initiative is creating an opportunity through a number of policies that include seed and venture funding to support pharmaceutical entrepreneurs, incubators and accelerators.

Market Drivers

  • The Indian pharmaceutical market is driven by increasing consumer spending, rapid urbanization, and rising health care insurance among others.
  • The rural health programme, lifesaving drugs, and preventive vaccines also drive the pharmaceutical market.
  • State and Central Governments are providing incentives for setting up R&D centers in the state.

Market Restraints

The Lack of patent protection made the Indian market undesirable to the multinational companies that had dominated the market: A significant change in intellectual property protection in India was the 1 January 2005 enactment of an amendment to India’s patent law that reinstated product patents for the first time since 1972.

The legislation took effect on the deadline set by the WTO’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which mandated patent protection on both products and processes for a period of 20 years. Under this new law, India will be forced to recognise not only new patents but also any patents filed after 1 January 1995. 

Industry Challenges

  • The Pharmaceutical industry in India faces challenges that include a time-consuming approval process, sub-optimal infrastructure, lack of funding avenues, little or no incentives among others.
  • The market players and government are always in the fight for the pricing of the drug. The government has imposed price control mechanism for the different drug which has led to the decrease in the profit margins.
  • The current infrastructure of India is not supporting supply chain to the rural and remote places in the country.
  • India continues to rely on imports of key starting materials, intermediates and API’s for, China with the share of dependence increasing over time. This potentially exposes India to raw material supply disruptions and pricing volatility. 
  • The increasing pricing pressure in the regulated market is squeezing margins and profitability.

Pricing Trends

The pricing of the drug is controlled by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA). NPPA is responsible for fixing the price as well as revise the prices.  

While the overall cost of manufacturing in India is likely to remain competitive, productivity in the Indian pharmaceutical market continues to be 40‐50 percent lower than the global median. .

Regulatory Trends

  • The Government of India unveiled ‘PharmaVision 2020’ aimed at making India a global leader in end-to-end drug manufacture. Approval time for new facilities has been reduced to boost investments. The government introduced mechanisms such as the Drug Price Control Order and the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority to deal with the issue of affordability and availability of medicines. 
  • The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is expected to be a game-changer for the Indian Pharmaceuticals industry. It will lead to tax-neutral inter-state transactions between two dealers, thereby reducing the dependency on multiple states and increasing the focus on regional hubs.
  • Union Ministry of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, has announced setting up of chemical hubs across the country, early environment clearances in existing clusters, adequate infrastructure, and the establishment of a Central Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology.
  • In March 2018, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) announced its plans to start a single-window facility to provide consents, approvals, and other information. The move is aimed at giving a push to the Make in India initiative.

Market Size and Forecast

The pharmaceutical sector was valued at US$ 33 billion in 2017 and projected to grow to the US $55 Billion by 2020, from the US $20 billion in 2015. India’s pharmaceutical exports totaled US$ 17.27 billion in 2017-18 and are expected to reach US$ 20 billion by 2020. 

Indian pharmaceutical sector industry supplies over 50 percent of global demand for various vaccines, 40 percent of generic demand in the US and 25 percent of all medications in the UK. India contributes the second largest share of the pharmaceutical workforce in the world. In June 2018, the market grew by 12.8 percent year-on-year with the turnover of US$ 1.56 billion.  

The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the third largest in terms of volume and thirteenth largest in terms of value, as per a report by Equity Master. India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally with the Indian generics accounting for 20 percent of global exports in terms of volume. 

India is now among the top five pharmaceutical emerging markets of the world. Indian consumers are spending nearly 1% of their total income on drugs and pharmaceuticals. With the rise in the per capita income, current spending is going to triple, to approximately $33 per year, by 2020.

The government is looking to ensure that quality healthcare and drugs are made affordable, targeting provision for more than 50% of the country’s population by 2020 and 80% of the population within the following decade.

Market Outlook

India’s pharmaceutical exports stood at US$ 16.4 billion in 2016-17 and are expected to grow by 30 percent over the next three years to reach US$ 20 billion by 2020, according to the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (PHARMEXCIL).

Key Market Players

Top 5 Pharma Companies in India 2017 are as below: 

  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.: Among all pharmaceutical companies in India, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited is the leader and the fifth largest pharmaceutical company in the world with the market capitalization of Rs 1,55,716 Crore. Established in the year 1983 by Dilip Shanghvi, Sun Pharmaceuticals operates in more than 150 countries across the world.
  • Lupin: Lupin is another leading pharmaceutical company and stands at second in the list of Top 10 Pharma Companies in India 2017 with the market capitalization of Rs 68,031 Crore.
  • Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories: With a market capitalization of Rs 49,293 Crore, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories is one of the biggest pharmaceutical company in India.
  • Cipla: Cipla is a leading pharmaceutical company incorporated in the year 1935 which now has the market capitalization of Rs Rs 47,319 Crore.
  • Aurobindo Pharma Limited: Aurobindo Pharma Limited is ranked fifth in the list of Top 10 Pharma Companies in India 2017. The company has a market capitalization of Rs. 41,283 Crore.



Further Reading

  • Asia-Pacific Pharmaceutical Market
  • Global Pharmaceutical Market


  • USFDA: United States Food and Drug Administration

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