Generic drugs tend to be a cheaper alternative to an innovator product, manufactured without a license from the original developer of the drug and marketed after patents or other exclusive rights have expired.

Generics are already prevalent in the United States, Europe and much of the developing world. Increasingly, they are also being used in previously untapped markets such as Japan as governments seek to reduce healthcare costs.

According to a new report from SNS Research, the global market for generic drugs will be worth almost $350 billion by the end of 2015.

Looking ahead, although there are challenges relating to quality control as well as legal concerns over patents, the market is forecast to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 percent between 2015 and 2020, driven by growth in both established and developing markets.

The research firm found that larger generic drug manufacturers are continuing to grow their market share through acquisitions and mergers. Well-established players are also keen to capitalize on joint ventures in emerging markets.

Meanwhile, in order to overcome low margins some manufacturers are turning to more profitable super generics, which are sold for a higher price and currently account for 18 percent of all spending on generic drugs.

At the same time, manufacturers are keeping control over costs and expanding their global reach by complementing their existing manufacturing and R&D locations with sites in low-cost countries such as India, China and Russia, SNS Research said.