Indian pharmaceutical market : Boosting healthcare in South Africa

  • November 21, 2022
  • 2 mins read

India is one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and exporters globally. According to India brand equity foundation. India is the largest exporter of generic drugs worldwide, and it is known for its affordable vaccines and generic medicines. The Indian Pharmaceutical industry is currently ranked in the third position in pharmaceutical production by volume after evolving into a thriving industry that has grown at a CAGR of 9.43% in the past nine years.

South- Africa: A Glance

According to the Observer Research Foundation, India’s historical role in supporting many nations – particularly in Africa- dealing with their HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria disease burden through low-cost, generic medicines is widely acknowledged.

As per the World Bank 2020 and Population Reference Bureau 2021, South Africa:

  • Population: > 59.3 million
  • Per capita income: $11,870
  • Life expectancy: F 65 / M 59 years
  • Infant mortality rate: 24/1,000 live births

According to the GBD Compare 2019, South Africa, the most common 10 causes of death in South Africa are:

  2. Ischemic heart disease
  3. Stroke
  4. Lower respiratory infections
  5. Diabetes
  6. Tuberculosis
  7. Road injuries
  8. Interpersonal violence
  9. Neonatal disorders
  10.  Diarrheal diseases

 Pharmaceutical products: Export from India to South Africa

As per the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, India Exports of pharmaceutical products to South Africa were US$641.88 Million in 2021. The underlying graph shows the pharmaceutical export from India to South Africa till 2021. 


As per the Observer Research Foundation, South Africa, a country with a thriving domestic pharmaceutical industry, where India is the source of 28.3% of imports of finished drugs, the contribution to bulk drug imports is a meager 3%. 

 According to the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India, India’s Pharma industry responded resiliently to the global needs of some of the medicines employed in the treatment of the Covid-19 pandemic. The industry could respond to various countries’ urgent appeals for supplies of products like Remdesivir, Favipiravir, Azithromycin, Doxycycline, Paracetamol, Hydroxychloroquine, and many others.

According to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), apart from promoting the exports of Indian pharmaceutical products to South Africa, both countries should actively amplify collaboration and joint ventures in segments such as clinical trials and research and development.