India is home to whopping 24,000 pharma companies. Of these, only about 250, including multinational companies (MNCs) come within the organized sector
Pharmaceutical companies in India are projected to register a growth of nearly 16 percent in 2023- or US$ 28 billion.
By the year 2020, the pharmaceuticals industry of India will be worth US$ 55 billion, growing to US$ 100 billion by 2025, according to separate reports compiled by India Brand Equity Foundation and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.
India is the world’s largest producer of generic medicines.
Further, over 80 percent of Anti Retroviral (ARV) medicines used to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients worldwide is exported from India.
Exports of Indian made medicines is expected to cross the US$ 20 billion mark by 2021 from the existing US$ 16.5 billion, these reports add.
Current Scenario of Pharmaceutical Companies in India:
The nearly 250 Pharma companies operating in India account for over 70 percent of the market share. About 8,000 Small Scale Industries that produce pharmaceuticals also flourish in India.
They mainly supply Over-The-Counter (OTC) medicines used to treat common and nonlife-threatening conditions such as an ordinary headache, common colds, cough, and influenza.
Some o these SSIs manufacture under the loan-license system for larger medical companies.
India has the world’s second-largest number of Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs) and is the world’s leader in Drug Master Files (DMFs) applications with the US, according to the Assocham study.
In this article, we glance at the top 10 purely homegrown pharma companies in India that are driving healthcare in this country and exporting superior quality medicines abroad.
Top 10 Pharma Companies in India 2019:
1) Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (SIPL) is India’s largest pharma company, the biggest Indian company to operate in the US and the third largest speciality generic medicines company worldwide.
SIPL traces its humble roots to 1983 when the company launched five psychiatry products that were marketed by a two-member team. By 1987, SIPL’s products were popular across India.
In 2014, SIPL acquired Indian medical giant, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and became the biggest pharmaceutical company in India. In June 2017, the company had a market capitalization of Rs.1.55 trillion.
2) Lupin Ltd
Reporting market capitalization of Rs.680.31 billion is the second largest Pharma company in India, Lupin Ltd. Based in Mumbai, Lupin Ltd traces its history to 1968.
Today, Lupin Ltd is the world’s largest pharmaceutical company that manufactures drugs to treat tuberculosis (TB). It is also the world’s 10th largest generic medicines company.
Lupin Ltd has operations in various countries including the US, France, UK, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Australia, the Philippines, Brazil, and Mexico, among others. Lupin Ltd is the world leader in the manufacture of cephalosporin antibiotics and cardiovascular medications.
It supplies anti-TB drugs to over 50 countries under various programs of the World Health Organization and other international bodies.
3) Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories is based in Hyderabad, Telangana. The company was launched in 1984 and launched a slew of generic medicines that drew flak from MNCs and local companies.
Undeterred, DRL launched Norilet, its first branded product, used to treat bacterial infections of the urinary tract, particularly among women.
Shortly, the company shocked the Indian medical market by launching Omez, its own brand of Omeprazole, used for controlling gastrointestinal acidity and reflux, at around 50 percent the price of its nearest competitor.
DRL also holds the distinction of being the first Indian company to launch generic Fluoxetine, used to combat depression.
Earlier, Prozac, a brand from US-based Eli Lilly & Co was the global market leader for Fluoxetine, which made it outside the reach of ordinary Indians suffering from depression.
The company has expanded into foreign markets including Russia, the Netherlands, UK, US, Denmark, Mauritius, Germany, China and Northern Ireland, among other countries.
In June 2017, its market capitalization stood at Rs.492.93 billion.
4) Cipla Ltd
Cipla can be called as a pioneer of India’s indigenous pharmaceutical industry. It was established as Chemical, Industrial, Pharmaceutical company and Laboratories in 1935, in Mumbai.
The company assumed its name Cipla in 1984. Cipla Ltd is also an Indian MNC with a presence in many countries around the world. In June 2017, Cipla Ltd reported market capitalization of Rs. 473.19 billion.
Cipla Ltd is one of the largest suppliers of cheap ARVs worldwide and pharmaceutical multinational companies in India.
Its medications cost HIV/ AIDS victims as little as US$ 350 for a year’s treatment and are often supplied free by governments and various organizations working in the field.
Cipla Ltd is the world’s single largest producer of ARVs used for HIV/ AIDS patients.
5) Aurobindo Pharma Ltd
By June 2017, Aurobindo Pharma Ltd (APL) had a market capitalization of Rs.412.83 billion, making it the fifth largest pharmaceutical company in India.
APL too had humble beginnings when it launched in 1988 with a small Penicillin manufacturing unit in Puducherry (Pondicherry).
The company is now headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana. APL is mainly known for its genetic medicines that are marketed with strategic partners including AstraZeneca and Pfizer among others, in some 130 countries.
The company’s core products include ARVs, cardiovascular medicines, psychiatric drugs, antihistamines and gastrointestinal medications.
Over 75 percent revenues of APL come from its international operations.
APL is expanding its product portfolios to cover anti-cancer therapies and gynaecology products.
6) Zydus Cadila
Zydus Cadila calls itself: “fully integrated, global healthcare provider, with strengths all along the pharmaceutical value chain with core competence in the field of healthcare.”
Based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, this top pharmaceutical company had a market capitalization of Rs.316.31 billion in June 2017.
Zydus Cadila has several firsts in the world to its credit.
It launched the world’s first biosimilar product, Exemptia, to treat victims of rheumatoid arthritis and other bone disorders, at a fraction of the original product called Adalimubab.
Other pioneering brands include Lipaglyn for treatment of diabetes and SoviHep for treatment of serious liver disease.
7) Piramal Enterprises
Piramal Enterprises is a division of the Piramal Group of companies. It ranks among the topmost pharmaceutical companies in India.
Piramal Enterprises makes generic medicines as well as speciality formulations for treatment of wide range of disease including diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, anaesthetics, spasticity management, nutritionals and Over the Counter (OTC) products from reputed MNCs such as F.
Hoffmann-La Roche’s globally acclaimed Saridon and Duphar Interfran’s Lacto Calamine lotions. In June 2017, Piramal Enterprises had a market capitalization of Rs.309.75 billion.
Piramal Enterprises also manufactures generic medicines for the export market. It has a presence in some 20 countries.
8) Glenmark Pharmaceuticals
Glenmark Pharmaceutical company is based in Mumbai. It is best known for its Candid range of crèmes, lotions, and powders used to treat a variety of bacterial and fungal infections of the skin.
Additionally, the company is also reputed for its generic drugs worldwide.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals is leading the way in creating inexpensive biosimilars for treatment of cancers and another serious disease, to make them affordable to Indian patients.
With a reported market capitalization of Rs.253.30 billion, it is set to emerge as a top pharma company in India with a significant presence abroad.
9) Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd
Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd, is one of the top pharma companies in India in the cardiovascular and central nervous system medicines.
Additionally, TPL also manufactures excellent medicines for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, antibiotics and anti-fungal treatments and painkillers.
Specialized products of Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd are used extensively in nephrology, oncology gynaecology and paediatrics.
TPL had a market capitalization of Rs.227.42 billion in June 2017. The company is present in several countries either as an exporter of medicines from India or in collaboration with foreign partners.
10) Anglo-French Drugs & Industries Ltd
Anglo-French Drugs & Industries Ltd is the real pioneer of India’s medical industry.
Started by an Englishman and his French partner in Mumbai in 1923, the company started with basic vitamin, cough and painkiller formulations common to the era.
In 1942, it registered Beplex Forte brand of Vitamin B-Complex tablets- the oldest brand that is available to date.
In 1959, the company which was then known as Anglo-French Drug Co (Eastern) Ltd was acquired by Switzerland’s pharmaceutical giant, F. Hoffmann-La Roche.
It introduced several pioneering medicines to India including Nitravet, a potent sleeping pill composed of Nitrazepam. Anglo-French introduced the Pantene range of hair products to India, with a hair lotion.
It holds the distinction of launching Epilan, a treatment for epilepsy and Syu granules for treating protein deficiency.
Located in Bangalore, Karnataka, it is one of the oldest medical companies in the country, albeit formed by foreigners.
Other Popular Pharma Companies of India:
Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd
In 1961, the Indian government headed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru looked at ways and means to make cheap medicines available to citizens of the country.
Thus, Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd is born. Today, IDPL is the topmost pharmaceutical company owned by the Indian government. The Central government also operates four other top pharmaceutical companies in India:
- Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd.
- Rajasthan Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
- Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
- Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
- Goa Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd
Additionally, the Central government also operates Goa Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. This company, with manufacturing units in Tuem, Goa is operated in collaboration with Hindustan Lifecare Laboratories Ltd (HLL), which manufactures inexpensive contraceptives for the local market.
GAPL manufactures a large range of products, from antibiotics to painkillers and sedatives. However, these are generally dispensed by public health facilities in the state and not available elsewhere.
East India Pharmaceutical Works Ltd
Any mention of India’s top pharmaceutical companies is incomplete without naming East India Pharmaceutical Works Ltd.
Established in 1936 in Kolkata, this company was launched by two Bengali entrepreneurs to produce affordable medicines made with the locally available raw material for the Indian population, including in areas that are now in Bangladesh.
Till date, East India Pharmaceutical Works Ltd manufactures commonly used medicines that are available at very affordable rates. The company has shifted headquarters to Mumbai.
Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd
Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd is the world’s largest producer and exporter of vaccines. It is a pharmaceutical company owned by the Government of Maharashtra.
Located in Mumbai, this firm was launched as an independent enterprise by Waldemar Mordecai Haffkine, in 1896, to develop vaccines for preventing plague.
The Haffkine Institute later diversified into developing anti-snake venom and anti-scorpion venom, which remain in high demand worldwide.
The company’s snake-farm houses different types of extremely venomous snakes from whom vaccine serum is extracted.
These activities are now handled by Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd. The company also has a subsidiary, Haffkine-Ajintha Pharmaceuticals Ltd which makes vaccines against polio, rubella and another disease.
Indian Generic Medicines & World
Several countries in Africa, South East Asia, and the Far East depend upon generic medicines from India to treat economically weaker populations.
The Philippines, for example, is a large importer of Indian medicines since they are cheaper than variants from other countries while meeting or exceeding international standards.
India’s generic medicine industry has been the bone of contention at World Trade Organization summits.
Some countries want India to enforce the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which would mean that India cannot produce cheap generic medicines that are developed by companies in rich countries.
The Indian government and several other nations have continued to ward off this requirement of WTO stating the TRIPS cannot be applied to essentials like medicines.
An increasing number of countries are looking towards India to import cheap yet superior quality medicines.
Top Indian pharma companies have responded by opening manufacturing units that conform to standards stipulated by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
India has nearly 80 US FDA approved pharmaceutical manufacturing units, which is the highest number outside the United States.
In recent years, countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council- Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also importing medicines manufactured by topmost pharmaceutical companies of India.
These imports were spurred by the instability of oil prices and severe fluctuations in US Dollar and Euro rates with local currencies of these countries.
They found that Indian medicines meet and exceed international standards and are economical to buy and dispense.
Consequently, the outlook for India’s pharmaceutical sector seems very promising.
Top Indian pharmaceutical companies will benefit from this demand worldwide. Stock prices of these medical companies are somewhat stable due to the bright outlook for Indian pharmaceutical sector within and outside this country.