Generic drug refers to a bioequivalent of a branded drug which is similar in terms of the dosage, quality, impact, intended use as well as route of administration. When a branded drug encounters patent expiration, an identical drug is produced by a different manufacturer, with a substantial price difference. Since the innovator drug has undergone tremendous research and development prior to production, the manufacturing of generic drugs does not require such investments. Moreover, these drugs do not require costly clinical trials and hefty payments for their promotion. The GCC pharmaceutical industry offers significant opportunities for the potential generic drugs firms on account of growing awareness amongst consumers. A new research report by IMARC Group, titled “GCC Generic Drug Market: Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2018-2023”, estimates that the GCC generic drug market was worth US$ 1,783 Million in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 15% during 2010-2017. The report further anticipates the market to cross a value of US$ 3,676 Million by 2023.
GCC Generic Drug Market Drivers/Constraints:
- The rising geriatric population coupled with the prevalence of several lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, depression, diabetes, cancer, asthma and cardiovascular diseases, has resulted in a mounting healthcare expenditure. This has prompted the governments in the GCC region to encourage the production and use of generic drugs.
- Moreover, the governments of several GCC countries, like Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE, have commenced various campaigns with the objective of replacing branded drugs by their generic counterparts, thereby facilitating the domestic manufacturing of generic drugs.
- The rising pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity in the region along with an increasing insurance coverage represent other significant factors which are propelling the growth of the GCC generic drug market.
- The affluent population of the GCC region prefers branded drugs over generic drugs. Apart from this, doctors and patients are sceptical about the effectiveness of generic drugs. These factors are the major hindrances for the growth of the generic drug market in the region.
On a geographical front, Saudi Arabia enjoys the leading position in the GCC generic drug market, accounting for the biggest market share. This can be accredited to the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases and enhanced healthcare infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is followed by the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
The GCC generic drug market is characterized by the presence of numerous international players. Local manufacturers, on the other hand, have limited regional presence. Moreover, the region is highly dependent on imports for fulfilling the domestic demand. Some of the leading players operating in the market are:
- Hospira (Pfizer Inc.)
- Fresenius Kabi Ag
- Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC
- Sandoz (Novartis)
- Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Baxter International Inc.
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