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Innovation in India and China : Challenges and Prospects in Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology


  • Jayan Jose Thomas



India and China are important players in an evolving process of globalization of research and development (R&D). Focusing on pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industries, this paper analyses the challenges and prospects facing the two countries in global innovation. Large supplies of highly skilled professionals and well-established science and technology infrastructures are important assets for India and China in the era of globalization of R&D. At the same time, however, there is a concern that as globalization of R&D gathers steam, the poor in India, China and other developing countries are likely to be left out of the new innovations. A good example is the case of Indias pharmaceuticals industry. The leading Indian pharmaceutical firms have responded well to the challenge of a strict intellectual property rights (IPR) regime by increasing their R&D spending and, simultaneously, targeting their sales to the generic drugs markets in North America and Europe. But even as Indias top drug firms have been growing in technological capabilities and taking part in the globalization of pharmaceuticals R&D, they have also been shifting their focus away from the market for medicines for poor patients.

Suggested Citation

  • Jayan Jose Thomas, 2008. "Innovation in India and China : Challenges and Prospects in Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology," Development Economics Working Papers 22518, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:22518

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kleinknecht, Alfred & ter Wengel, Jan, 1998. "The Myth of Economic Globalisation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(5), pages 637-647, September.
    2. Carl Dahlman & Anuja Utz, 2005. "India and the Knowledge Economy : Leveraging Strengths and Opportunities," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7356, June.
    3. Padmashree Gehl Sampath, 2010. "Economic Aspects of Access to Medicines after 2005: Product Patent Protection and Emerging Firm Strategies in the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry," Working Papers id:3336, eSocialSciences.
    4. Andrew Mold, 2003. "Kicking away the ladder: development strategy in historical perspective by HA-JOON CHANG. (London: Anthem Press, 2002, pp. 187)," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(5), pages 668-670.
    5. Dieter Ernst, 2003. "Internationalisation of Innovation: Why Chip Design Moving to Asia," Economics Study Area Working Papers 64, East-West Center, Economics Study Area, revised Mar 2004.
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    More about this item


    India; China; innovation; pharmaceuticals; biotechnology;

    JEL classification:

    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics


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