Make in India — nowhere to go but up
Make in India recently published an advertorial in the Washington Post proclaiming that “2016 is India’s Growth Year For Pharma.” I don’t doubt that India has growth potential, as it ranks 51st out of 54 nations that I compare in the Scientific American Worldview scorecard.
The problem with Make in India’s encouraging proclamation is that there are serious systemic problems holding India back.
I have previously published my thoughts on the matter in the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology: Building biotechnology in India – Drugs are not the answer.
Further, while Make in India claims that India is the number one exporter of generic drugs by volume, NSF Science and Engineering Indicators show that China’s pharmaceutical value-add was $139 billion in 2014, wheras India’s was $10 billion. Further, China’s value-add is up 50% from 2011, whereas India’s value-add is up less than 5%. So what does it matter if India is the number one exporter by volume, if they can’t generate revenues?
I am not alone in my pessimistic stance. Hyderabad-based Hetero Pharma said that the country has lost nearly $10 billion worth of investment by not respecting IP norms.
Further, consider the sobering sentiment from the World Bank. India ranks behind the West Bank and Gaza in their latest ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking.
To close on a positive note, I think it’s clear that India’s pharmaceutical industry has great growth potential. I just hope that the policy makers and stakeholders are playing it long, and don’t think that 2016 will be a substantial inflection point.