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US wholesale sector consolidation hits Indian drug makers

April 30, 2014
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The U.S. pharmaceutical sector is going through a period of consolidation and this has already has a noticeable effect on Indian drug makers, as large players are now shaping the market, demanding low-cost generic drugs, according to industry analysts.

Recently there have been at least three large consolidation deals involving some of the biggest wholesale distributors on the American market. These moves have resulted in the rise of seven high-profile pharmacies that hold a combined of 85 percent of the total market, India's Economic Times reported. About a year ago, the signing of a 10-year agreement launched an alliance between Walgreen, Amerisource-Bergen and Alliance Boots. In December 2013 a joint venture was formed between pharma giant Cardinal Heath and another big gun on the market, CVS Caremark, while in January U.S. pharmacy McKesson took over the largest European distributor, Celesio.

While these consolidation deals strengthened the positions of those involved in them on the market, they affected mid-sized Indian drug makers. In total, India exports pharmaceutical products worth about $15 billion and more than a quarter of these sales go to the U.S. market. Industry experts comment that large Indian manufacturers making stand-out products can afford to resist demand for low prices from U.S. pharmacies but smaller companies could only withstand the pressure if they get involved in alliances themselves, preferably with companies that manufacture unique and niche products.

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