India will emerge as one of the Top 5 global markets for pharmaceutical products by 2020, driven by huge domestic demand and increased consumer spending on drugs, according to a study by city-based Ikon Marketing Consultants.

Describing the ongoing decade as a healthy one for the pharma industry, Ikon Marketing Consultants (IMC) Founder and Principal Consultant Mr Azaz Motiwala said, “The global pharma market is expected to grow at 7 per cent to 8 per cent over the next five years, reaching an anticipated $1.7 trillion in 2020.”

He noted that the Indian consumer currently spends nearly 1 per cent of his total income on drugs and pharmaceuticals, which will not change significantly in the current decade.

“However, with the rise in the per capita income, the spending is going to be triple (approximately $33) by 2020,” Mr Motiwala said.

By 2020, nearly 650 million people will have health insurance cover, while private insurance coverage will grow by nearly 15 per cent annually till 2020, he said. By 2020, the Indian healthcare industry is estimated to be worth $275.6 billion, he said.

According to the study, in the current decade, the spread of diabetes will drive the growth of new therapies in India’s pharmaceutical market and by 2020, incidence of the disease will have risen six times. Diabetes presently affects around 50 million Indians, killing about 4 million annually, as per official statistics.

“Treatment for chronic diseases like asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart ailments, osteoporosis and kidney ailments will likely to constitute more than half of India’s pharma market by the end of the decade,” Mr Motiwala said.

Emerging areas such as bio pharmaceuticals, bio generics, bio similar and pharma packaging are also going to contribute significantly to the industry’s growth, the study says.

According to the study, metros and Tier-1 markets, which have been growing at 14-15 per cent in the last five years, will drive growth in the industry.

They account for 60 per cent of the Indian pharmaceutical market today and look set to continue growing to a market size of $33 billion by the end of the decade, Mr Motiwala said.

Rural areas, on the other hand, will constitute 25 per cent of the total market, by 2020, up from 20 per cent at present.