Purpose – This study aims to access, analyze and highlight opportunities and problems of the Indian pharmaceutical sector in the broader national health-care industry. The recent changes in the field, at the institutional and corporate levels, have placed India in the spotlight of the global pharmaceutical market, but several threats and weaknesses could limit this expansion. Design/methodology/approach – Descriptive and inferential analyses have been based on empirical data extracted from authenticated data sources. Subsequently, a narrative strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis was performed based on the results of prior investigations and on qualitative data that were retrieved from a marketing intelligence examination to generate an overall scenario analysis. Findings – Indian pharmaceutical companies have faced several challenges on various fronts. In the home market, drug prices are controlled by the drug price control order; therefore, there is strong pressure on revenues and subsequently on costs. In the international market, threats derived from pharmaceutical multinational companies are emerging as tough obstacles to overcome. Practical implications – More focus on patents for innovative drugs is required, instead of concentrating primarily on generic drugs. There is a need for policymakers to work on the sustainability and development of the industry, while the companies must redesign their orientation toward enhancing innovation capabilities. In addition, at the level of corporate strategy, firms should establish collaborations and alliances and expand their industrial marketing vision. Originality/value – This study provides a global overview of the potential growth and development of the Indian pharmaceutical sector, comparing it with internal trends and external competition. The most relevant contribution of the research relies on the shift to innovative production that Indian companies must adopt (after years of focusing only on generic drugs), and in this vein, appropriate industrial marketing solutions are indispensable.
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