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South Africa : Big Opportunity For Indian Bulk Drugs, Pharmaceutical Formulations And Medical Devices

Indian pharma companies are now casting their net wider in order to tap growing markets in Africa. Take the case of South Africa. With the recent withdrawal of the patent suit filed by 39 global pharma companies against the South Africa government which allowed the sale of cheaper branded generic drugs, India will have huge opportunity for selling generic drugs in the South African market.

According to an Assocham study, the $ 1.7 billion South African Pharmaceutical market, which is expanding at a rate of 4% per annum, is expected to become a $ 2.1 billion market by 2010. South Africa offers the biggest market for Indian bulk drugs in their generic form, pharmaceutical formulations, fine chemicals and also surgical medical instruments. Its indigenous production capacity is limited and pharmaceuticals are largely imported from US and Europe. India occupies 10th position among countries exporting pharma items to South Africa.

According to the study, Indian pharma companies can leverage their strength in terms of low cost of production and availability of quality manpower.

Indian production costs are almost 50% less compared to developed countries. Though Indian exports of pharmaceuticals to South Africa shows an increasing trend, there is potential for much higher growth since the South African Government's thrust in the area of healthcare services for the under priviledged population at reasonably low prices has resulted in an increased demand for drugs and pharmaceuticals. Cipla was the early bird when it made its foray in South Africa with its 'triple AIDS cocktail' for the treatment of AIDS at $ 350 per patient per year.

(Ref: Economic Times dated November 19, 2005)