INDIA ADDA – Perspectives On India

IBEF works with a network of stakeholders - domestic and international - to promote Brand India.



Dikshu C. Kukreja
Dikshu C. Kukreja
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Sanjay Bhatia
Sanjay Bhatia
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Colin Shah
Colin Shah
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Alok Kirloskar
Alok Kirloskar
Pragati Khare
Pragati Khare
Devang Mody
Devang Mody
Vinay Kalantri
Vinay Kalantri

Indian Pharma Exports Making a Global Mark

Indian Pharma Exports Making a Global Mark

The Indian pharma sector has a long history of developing and delivering world-class products at affordable costs across the globe. India is regarded as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ and ranked third-largest in pharma production by volume and 14th largest by value.  India has the most number of United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved units (741 as of August 2021). Indian pharma companies offer products in segments such as generic drugs, Over-the-Counter (OTC) medicines, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), vaccines, contract research and manufacturing, and biosimilar and biologics. India is the largest provider of generics globally, accounting for over 20% of the global generic supply by volume and 60% of vaccines. Indian pharma products are exported to over 200 countries; the country meets more than 40% of generic demand in the US and 25% of prescription drugs in the UK.

Overview of Indian Pharma Export
For the period 2021-22, export of drugs and pharma products stood at US$ 24.6 billion compared to US$ 24.44 billion as of 2020-21. The Indian pharma industry witnessed exponential growth of 103% during 2014-22 from US$ 11.6 billion to US$ 24.6 billion. Pharma exports reported strong growth despite the pandemic-led global supply disruptions and geopolitical concerns during the last couple of years.

Value of Indian Pharma Exports (in US$ Billion)
Over the last five years, the value of pharma export has increased at a CAGR of 7% from US$ 17.3 billion in 2018 to US$ 24.6 billion in 2022. Intense price competitiveness and good quality services have helped pharma companies dominate the export market.

Source: Statista

Category-wise Export Trend
Out of the total exports of US$ 24.6 billion, drug formulation and biologicals (drug formulation: different chemical substances such as active ingredients are combined to produce a final medical product; biologicals: pharmaceutical products manufactured from living organisms) accounts for US$ 18 billion of exports. Over the last couple of years, drug formulation and biologicals increased from 74% of exports in 2019 to 78% in 2021, driven by vaccine and drug exports during the pandemic. India has been exporting vaccines and essential generic drugs to around 71 countries during the crisis.

Source: RBI Bulletin

India’s Edge Over Other Markets
Indian pharma companies have always set examples by delivering life supporting medicines at affordable rates across the globe. Emerging markets have been becoming popular in pharma exports compared to developed markets over the last few years. According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the current market size of the Indian pharma industry is US$ 50 billion. These pharma companies have an edge over their developed and emerging market peers due to:

  • Availability of solid infrastructure facilities recognised by USFDA and WHO standards
  • Inexpensive labour and lower production cost – Drug production cost lower by 40-70% and labor costs on an average less than 60-70% as compared to developed nations.
  • Lower R&D cost
  • Strong government support

Major Pharma Companies in India  
India is home to nearly 3,000 pharma companies, seven of which are included in the list of top 100 pharma companies in the world by revenue. Sun Pharma is the largest pharma company in India by revenue, followed by Aurbindo Pharma, Cipla, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Lupin. Top 10 pharma company revenue accounts for US$ 16.2 billion based on FY21 and FY22 revenue.

Top Pharma Companies in India by Revenue

Sr No


Global Ranking
(Based on Revenue - Top 100)

FY22 Revenue
 (in US$ Bn)


Sun Pharmaceutical Industries




Aurobindo Pharma Ltd




Cipla Ltd




Dr. Reddy's Laboratories




Lupin Ltd




Zydus Lifesciences




Divi’s Laboratories




Torrent Pharma




Biocon Ltd







*Revenue as of 2021
Source: Company filings

Activities Undertaken for Export Promotion
Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (PHARMEXCIL) acts as a nodal agency for export promotion in the country. Significant activities that have been undertaken for export promotion include:

  • Brand India Pharma Project: The project was launched in 2012 to promote Indian pharma products in  international markets by using Made in India logos and highlighting the sector as a preferred destination. Phamexcil has entered into agreements with countries such as South Korea, China, the Philippines and Ukraine to promote bilateral trade.
  • Reducing dependency on imports of APIs: India is heavily dependent on API imports to meet domestic manufacturing and formulation requirements. As of FY21, India’s API import stood at US$ 3.68 billion. The government has launched schemes for setting up three bulk drug parks, medical device parks and offered product linked incentives (PLI) to manufacture APIs in the country.
  • Authentication system for pharma exports: To reduce fake and substandard pharma formulation, a track and trace system has been developed since 2011. Barcoding at secondary and tertiary level packaging has been adopted. In June 2020, the beta version of a technology-neutral and user-friendly web portal, iVEDA, was launched.
  • Support to the industry: The Department of Commerce offers reimbursement of the registration cost for product registration abroad up to US$ 0.26 million per year in order to encourage more product registrations in new markets.
  • Global outreach and B2B engagements: Pharmexcil and the Department of Commerce organise trade fairs webinars and exhibitions across the globe to promote exports.

Pharma Exports Poised to Grow in Future
India has made its mark in the global generic market by delivering quality products at scale. Growth in exports has been achieved, primarily due to consistent innovation over the last 5-6 decades. The share of pharma and drugs in India’s global exports was 5.92% as of 2022. India also has the potential to become a net API exporter with government support, as private players can establish API plants and export them to nations dependent on imports. According to the Indian Economic Survey 2020-21, the pharma industry is expected to reach US$ 64 billion in value by 2024 and US$ 130 billion by 2030. The next leg of growth in pharma, both domestic and exports, will come from advancement in skill development, use of technology in manufacturing and establishment of a solid supply chain.