Driven by fear over its market encroachment and ambition at its investment and efficiency potential, western companies are gathering data urgently to identify the right strategic moves.
This saw India emerge as the pharma industry's hottest research topic in 2005, according to a survey by online provider of business information for the pharma industry, >Piribo. India was the most viewed subject at Piribo's online pharma industry information shop and outsourcing, particularly manufacturing and clinical trials, generated a large volume of interest.
"I am not surprised that India features so highly in the pharma exec's mind. The country's GNP is soaring and where generics was its first success in pharmaceuticals, India's top companies now rank with western pharma companies," said Edwin Bailey, managing director of Piribo.
"In addition, India is very export orientated, with a very educated workforce, many with MBAs as well as fluent English, making it an ideal place for Western pharma companies to do business," Bailey told In-PharmaTechnologist.com.
Interestingly, China, India's main rival in terms of pharma industry growth, did not feature as highly in the survey, with the broad subject of Asia pacific coming in at number 10.
"There is still a perception of China as simply a low-cost manufacturing destination," Bailey speculated.
Perhaps synonymous with India, generic drugs and patent expiries were the second most popular subjects viewed in 2005, clearly demonstrating the increasing interest in this area also.
More than $80bn (€67bn) worth of blockbuster drugs face patent expiry by 2008 and risk losing up to 80 per cent of their market share due to generic competition.
Bristol-Myers Squibb was the most popular company searched for in 2005, possibly reflecting it's admission that it was susceptible to generic competition and subsequent announcement of a $500m cost-cutting programme.
Other top areas of pharma industry interest highlighted by Piribo were pricing and reimbursement, Alzheimer's disease, clinical trials, intellectual property, pain, biotechnology, and the companies Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Merck.
The site hits came predominantly from the US followed by UK and, for the first time, India was the third source, pushing Germany into fourth place.
This influx of interest from Indian companies further highlights their growing pharma industry presence.