Indian pharma companies spread wings abroad

By agencies   |   Friday, 27 May 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: No longer able to rely on selling copycats of drugs patented abroad, more Indian drug makers have begun setting up foreign partnerships to expand into overseas markets.

Since new laws took effect in January, Indian generic-drug makers have signed up atleast a dozen deals with foreign partners who will sell their drugs, while three other deals involve Indian firms licensing new molecules or drug delivery systems.

For more than three decades, Indian companies thrived with the protectionism that allowed them to copy drugs patented elsewhere. To meet World Trade Organization obligations, India changed the law at the start of this year to disallow copying of drugs patented after 1995.

While larger players Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. and Cipla Ltd. have led the way, others are now turning to exports.

Billions of dollars worth of drugs lose their patent protections over the next few years, luring Indian drug makers overseas to compete with their cheaper generic versions. Indian firms also need to keep expanding, and foreign markets offer the best opportunities.

Ahmedabad based Cadila Healthcare Ltd. Strides Arcolab Ltd. of Bangalore, Matrix Laboratories Ltd. Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals have partnered with firms such as Mayne Pharma Actavis Aspen Pharmacare Alpharma Inc Tyco International and Stada Pharmaceuticals to market their products abroad.

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