The number of purely Indian pharma companies is fairly low. Indian pharma industry is mainly operated as well as controlled by dominant foreign companies having subsidiaries in India due to availability of cheap labor in India at low cost. In 2002, over 20,000 registered drug manufacturers in India sold $9 billion worth of formulations and bulk drugs. 85% of these formulations were sold in India while over 60% of the bulk drugs were exported, mostly to the United States and Russia. Most of the players in the market are small-to-medium enterprises; 250 of the largest companies control 70% of the Indian market. Thanks to the 1970 Patent Act, multinationals represent only 35% of the market, down from 70% thirty years ago.
Most pharma companies operating in India, even the multinationals, employ Indians almost exclusively from the lowest ranks to high level management. Homegrown pharmaceuticals, like many other businesses in India, are often a mix of public and private enterprise.
In terms of the global market, India currently holds a modest 1–2% share, but it has been growing at approximately 10% per year. India gained its foothold on the global scene with its innovatively engineered generic drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), and it is now seeking to become a major player in outsourced clinical research as well as contract manufacturing and research. There are 74 US FDA-approved manufacturing facilities in India, more than in any other country outside the U.S, and in 2005, almost 20% of all Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDA) to the FDA are expected to be filed by Indian companies. Growth in other fields notwithstanding, generics are still a large part of the picture. London research company Global Insight estimates that India’s share of the global generics market will have risen from 4% to 33% by 2007. The Indian pharmaceutical industry has become the third largest producer in the world and is poised to grow into an industry of $20 billion in 2015 from the current turnover of $12 billion.