The International Pharmaceutical Industry is not characterised either by subcontracting or major alliances between manufacturers, or between manufacturers and product designers (R&D). This setting implies that neither the automotive industry model (where privatisation, the elimination of many small/medium sized enterprises, the subcontracting of big firms, and foreign direct investment have characterised the evolution of firms in recent years)15, nor that of electronics (where the chances for a new firm to leap over the R&D obstacles to entry seem to be reasonably good), appear applicable. Neither does the International Pharmaceutical Industry lend itself to the weaving of subregional or international nets, where contacts based on ethnic and/or family links can play an important role (as is apparently the case in industrial branches such as clothing, and in certain service sectors).
15 Concerning the effective (although only partly formalized) standard setting in the automotive industry through the continuous improvement of production and management systems (benchmarking), see the essay by the present author cited in the Bibliography.
In consonance with current trends, the evolution seems to suggest the following changes:
• The elimination of many small/medium sized enterprises in emerging countries, along with mergers among others to try and capture economies of scale and scope. This change would be driven by both the direct and indirect impacts of standardisation.
• Regarding new foreign direct investment, only a modest rate of activity, concentrated in just a few (chiefly Asian) emerging countries. At the same time we should anticipate the closure (or simplification of operations) of several existing affiliates of foreign firms.
• A growing role for imports of finished products.