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New Delhi, October 07, 2013: The Indian pharmaceutical market is predicted to more than double in size over the next seven years, despite an opaque regulatory system and weak patent rules.

Research and consulting firm GlobalData say the country's growing economy, along with greater uptake of health insurance and better access to healthcare facilities, will drive the market's value from an estimated $21bn in 2013 to $56bn by 2020.

Joshua Owide, director of healthcare industry dynamics for GlobalData, said: “India is an emerging healthcare market that has remained unsaturated due to the limited penetration of healthcare insurance and poor access to healthcare facilities, especially in rural areas.

“However, an increasing demand for high-quality services, affordability, and a growing medical tourism industry will provide the necessary momentum for the growth of the pharmaceutical market.”

The analysts note that the lack of transparency in the Indian drug regulatory system and weak patent laws are a major challenge for foreign multinational companies attempting to enter or expand in the Indian healthcare market.

Cancer drugs have been particularly problematic and in the last two months both Roche with Herceptin and GlaxoSmithKline with Tyverb have experienced patent problems.

But while pharma's patent issues in the country persist, improvements to its regulatory system may be on the horizon, with plans from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to create the Central Drug Authority (CDA).

This would replace the current Central Drug Standard Control Organization and, GlobalData said, “greatly improve the regulatory environment” for pharmaceuticals, medical devices and clinical trials in India.

But, although GobalData's forecasts put the market on course for a compound annual growth rate of 15 per cent to 2020, the firm cautions that this could be held back if India's rural healthcare infrastructure is not improved. -- pmlive.com

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