Sunday, August 15, 2010

Marketing Indian Drugs to Americans: Globalization of Drug industry

Helen Coster blogs on Forbes.com about “Marketing Indian Drugs to Americans,” featuring Hayden Hamilton who discovered a business niche by importing Indian drugs to America. While the story makes for an interesting read, many of us observing the globalization of Indian drug industry are bound to think, big deal! Why? Indian drugs have long been exported, sometimes with a lot of controversy.

Case in point is the controversy over Indian drug makers supplying AIDS drugs in Africa at a fraction of cost of western-branded drugs. (S.Africa to buy cheaper AIDS drugs despite opposition – Reuters)

The globalization of drug industry has had some un-intended consequences including the outsourcing of Clinical Trials, a tactic the drug industry claims will enable lowering cost of drug discovery. (Re: Should Clinical Trials Be Outsourced?)

Indians traveling overseas, including Indian immigrants in the west have long known that cheaper, generic Indian drugs are as effective as the much more expensive branded western medicines. Many make it a practice to load up on their supplies during trips to India, which brings us back to the story of Marketing Indian Drugs to Americans.

If there are no barriers to entry in shipping such individual prescriptions from India to customers in the US and elsewhere, why are a lot more players not in the fray?