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Global frontier markets offer huge opportunity for pharma MSMEs: Ashish Maheshwari

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Monday, February 6, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Global frontier markets offer huge opportunity for the pharmaceutical micro small and medium enterprises (MSME), said Ashish Maheshwari, chairman & MD, Balaxi Pharmaceutical.

A frontier market is a country that is more established than the least developed countries (LDCs) but still less established than the emerging markets. These include Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Benin, Croatia, Estonia, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Romania, Serbia, Senegal, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Togo, Tunisia and Vietnam.

Indian pharma has expanded its customer base and secured a larger share of the global pharmaceutical market. Partnering with international companies it has extended its reach and impact in frontier markets. However, in frontier markets, MSMEs have a huge opportunity. They offer scale, market homogeneity, healthy margins, and quality growth where value and volume are both established in a balanced way, Maheshwari told Pharmabiz.

 If MSMEs can manage the global regulatory clearances like WHO-GMP and EU GMP levels, exports can create a lot of value addition. We see the frontier markets can be an attractive bet for the MSMEs in the next four to five years in export growth, he added.

India is one of the world’s fastest-growing pharmaceutical industries. Its cost of production is a third of that of the US which is primarily due to the availability of skilled labour. The Union government’s boost to the pharmaceutical sector through financial assistance and other incentives has propelled its potential. Companies are investing heavily in research & development, which has helped them to develop innovative products and stay ahead of the competition, he noted.

Over the years, the industry has strengthened the commercial relationship with several regions of LATAM, South Asia and Common Wealth of Independent States (CIS) through increased exports and investments. Companies have particularly earned the trust of the Latin American market, and are now a crucial supplier of high-quality, affordable APIs, vaccines, and generic formulations. in regard to the Latin America’s healthcare market, India’s contribution in the sector goes beyond providing pharmacy assistance given that the region lies in a sweet spot somewhere between the highly regulated, competitive markets of the US, Europe and the less-regulated markets of Africa, said Maheshwari adding that with a clear policy from the Union government to prioritize the Latin American region will embrace India’s ability to help lower the region’s healthcare expenses, could galvanize India’s place as a fundamental healthcare partner for the region.

Similarly, South-east Asian countries are emerging as preferable destination for India’s pharma companies to expand their business as they share similar patient population and disease profile and moreover, have a conducive environment for their operations like easy market approach without any regulatory uncertainty. Often referred to by the umbrella term pharmerging and grouped together with other world regions with developing pharmaceutical industries, South Asia and Southeast Asia are medical markets with plenty of growth potential. In spite of various logistic and regulatory challenges on export in 12 countries of CIS, are also progressively being viewed as a promising destination, he said.

Frontier markets have been becoming popular in pharma exports compared to developed markets over the last few years. With R&D and technology, Indian pharmaceutical companies have managed to capture such a large share of the global pharmaceutical market through a combination of affordability and high quality, said Maheshwari.

 
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