Cost competition and the financial crisis have slowed the growth of the global API marker over the past four years according to new data released by the CPA (Italian Chemical Pharmaceutical Association).
The report - released earlier this month - showed that the world API market grew from $91bn (EUR70bn) in 2008 to $113bn in 2012 at an average annual rate of 5.6%, which is less than an average 7.2% yearly growth over the period between 2004 and 2008.
The CPA attributed the slowing of the world market to a series of factors, including increased pricing pressure from cost containment policies; more drugs going off patent; an elevated risk of pipeline failure coupled with an increasing cost of drug discovery; and competition from lower cost producing countries, particularly India.
This is supported by the finding that the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, saw its API industry grow the most of any region - by 13.9% per year, which was followed by an 8.7% annual growth rate in the Middle East and 8.2% yearly growth rate for Eastern Europe.
Below average growth rates were registered in Western Europe (2.5% annual growth), Japan (3.4% yearly average) and North America (3.8% annually).
North America still made up the largest share of the API market in 2012, though China surpassed North America as the largest consumer of generic APIs in the world.
Finished dosage forms
Within the global API market, APIs sold to pharma companies for the production of in-house finished dosage forms rose at a slightly quicker pace than the market for APIs sold to third parties, according to the report.
The authors attributed the slightly faster growth rate to sales of finished dosage forms generally generating a greater added value to the manufacturing company than sales of the active ingredient or the intermediate alone to a third party.
The trend towards selling finished dosage forms rather than the active ingredients or the intermediates has been particularly evident with Indian and Israeli companies, according to CPA.