The global generics market is likely to witness strong growth driven by the patent expiry of several major blockbuster drugs worth $150 billion between 2010 and 2017.

That is the view of researchers at Frost & Sullivan which claims that the  market earned revenues of $123.85 billion in 2010. This will rise almost 9.3% to reach $231.00 billion in 2017, according to the the analysis which covers the USA, Germany, the UK, France, Spain, Italy, India and China.

The report notes that generic firms "have been proactive in forging strategic alliances" with branded drugmakers to bag marketing rights and exclusivity in producing copycat versions of blockbusters, notably Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin). The big names in the sector, notably Teva, Sandoz and Mylan, "are increasingly focused on biosimilars, as this segment provides a competitive edge and presents huge profit margins".

F&S analyst Aiswariya Chidambaram said "the trend is shifting towards less competitive, yet commercially attractive segments such as difficult-to-produce generics, specialty generics and biosimilars”. She added that “the increase in the prevalence of chronic disorders, newly-reported diseases and ageing populations have resulted in tremendous pressure being placed on governments to implement cost containment measures and curb rampant healthcare expenditure,” playing into the hands of the generics majors.

Ms Chidambaram concluded by saying that "large multinational generic firms need to adopt a differentiated approach by opting for products with technologically challenging formulations, products which require significant regulatory support and products with limited availability of active pharmaceutical ingredients".