Industry Overview Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Manufacturing and drug discovery drive the hunger for talent. In a world where health is the key driver for everything else, India, a nation of 100 crore people, is a hot market for products and services on the one hand, and for jobs on the other. Hospitals need people – not only doctors, but also other service and technical personnel – while drugs manufacturers need researchers and technicians of various types. A career that bets on the global need for better health is surely a promising avenue.

Research by job portal Naukrihub says India accounts for 2 per cent of the world’s pharmaceutical market, with an estimated value of about $8 billion. The country ranks fourth in terms of total pharmaceutical production and 13th in terms of their value. It is growing at an average of 7.2 per cent annually and is expect ed to grow to $12 billion by 2010. Over the last two years, the value of the global pharmaceuticals market has increased to about $355 billion, largely aided by the launch of new products.

Pharmaceuticals account for about 3 per cent of foreign direct investment flowing into the country. According to the latest government Economic Survey, the pharmaceuticals industry had achieved a turnover of about $12 billion in 2005-06, and is expected to grow by 13 per cent in 2007.

After India enacted a product patent law in 2005, global pharmaceutical giants found adequate protection to do research in India to generate and protect intellectual property Multi nationals like AstraZeneca and Indian players like Ranbaxy and Dr. Reddy’s are actively doing drug research in India.

India is also critical because companies like Cipla and Ranbaxy are also developing generic versions of branded global drugs at cheaper rates. With patents of more than 30 blockbuster (high-selling) drugs of multinational pharma companies scheduled to expire over the next four years, the generic market is expecting to grow manifold from the current level of more than $70 billion.

There are research jobs to be had at institutes such as the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, the National Chemi cal Laboratory in Pune, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Hyderabad.

In the healthcare segment, Max, Fortis and Apollo are the larger companies offering clinical care and surgery. In this industry, the earnings from ‘medical tourism’ packages, which offer cost-effective healthcare to foreigners, are going up fast.

Among the newer avenues in the life sciences industries are contract research and pharma outsourcing, which are expected to be together worth more than $30 billion in a few years’ time, according to Naukrihub.

All that means a lot of business in the coming years – and careers to match.

Key Players

Apollo Hospitals, founded by US-trained surgeon Dr Prathap C Reddy, is the leading player in corporate healthcare and has a chain of over 40 hospitals that engage over 5,000 doctors and nurses on its rolls or as consultants. The listed company posted a turnover of more than Rs 891 crore last year, and pioneered the commercialisa tion and medical tourism in the country. Its leading specialisation is in cardiac care.

Ranbaxy, founded in 1961 by Dr Bhai Mohan Singh, grandfather of current CEO Malvinder Mohan Singh, is India’s largest company for generic, or off-patent, drugs. The company, with annual sales of nearly Rs 4,000 crore, is present in 49 countries and sells its products in over 100 countries. The Rs 3,700-crore

Cipla was founded in 1935 by Khwaja Abdul Hamied, father of current chairman Yusuf Khwaja Hamied. It is India’s second largest pharma company in terms of market capitalisation, and has taken on the largest and most powerful companies in the world in making the cheapest AIDS medicines for millions of patients.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories boasts of making the largest acquisition by an Indian pharmaceutical company abroad – taking over Betapharm of Germany. Founded in 1984 by Anji Reddy in Hyderabad, Dr. Reddy’s, with sales in excess of Rs 3,800 crore, is credited widely to have licensed the first original drug ever made by an Indian company, though it was never sold commercially.

Fortis Healthcare, led by Ranbaxy’s Shivinder Mohan Singh, opened its first hospital in Mohali in 2001. Since then, Fortis has expanded its operations by opening multi-specialty hospitals, a boutique-style hospital and various satellite and heart command centres in Delhi and elsewhere.


Research & development : Freshers: PhD, M Pharm, or MSc (in analytical chemistry or organic chemistry)

Group leaders: 5+ years of experience in the delivery system or chemistry segment

Managers / vice presidents

Marketing : Trainee medical representatives: BSc / BPharm. There is a career progression plan for high-potential candidates. People who do well in domestic marketing are consid ered for international assignments

Management trainee: Mostly for product management, needs BPharm + an MBA in pharmaceutical management

Product officer / product executive / Product manager / group product manager: BPharm + MBA in pharmaceutical management + increas ing years of experience


  • Being a skill oriented industry, both educational background and experience are vital.
  • In this dynamic industry, openness to learning is important
  • Willingness to take up responsi- bilities is another key asset
  • Aptitude tests also cover general English, maths, general knowledge and reasoning abilities

Top Line Courses

Source: HR Department, Sun Pharmaceuticals