Sensex seesaws

Sensex seesaws

The past few weeks have seen India’s stock markets reach dizzy heights. How long will this euphoria last? How will it impact the pharma segment? The latest buzz is that Pfizer may buy a significant share in Sanofi Aventis as a prelude to a takeover, and this pushed up the shares of the later for a short while.

Inspite of good performances, Indian pharma stocks have been depressed for a variety of reasons; increased outflow on litigations, patent uncertainties, unclear pipeline of future drugs to name a few. In a world where rumours rule and figures change faster than the weather, the analysts interviewed for our Management cover story say that India’s fundamentals are strong and pharma stocks will deliver value in the long rather than short term. Moreover, if the trend to separate and list pharma research units picks up, we will be closer to a valuation of Indian pharma’s R&D pipeline and this may attract private equity.

The anti-retrovirals segment is rife with controversy and tragedy. The controversy of breaking patents and more recently different pricing strategies. And the tragedy of a galloping disease, with no reliable figures to judge if the disease has been stalled or has merely slipped under the radar of public health authorities and NGOs. Our Market Cover Story gives a broad perspective of these issues. Osteoporosis, the subject of our Research Cover Story, is another condition for which no figures giving the incidence of the condition in India exists.

Elsewhere in the issue, we have two special segments: one on the increasing play of IT in life sciences and the other focusing on the analytical instruments market in India. Both allied sectors hone the competitive edge of life science players and could well be the difference between a future blue chip and an also ran. All the more reason to watch the Healthcare Index with a hawk’s eye.

Viveka Roychowdhury