Fine chemicals are characterized by their high price and low volume usage vis-à-vis commodity chemicals. Fine chemicals are made to high specification. These are chosen carefully considering their specific molecular properties, unlike specialty chemicals, which are procured especially for their functional characteristics. Fine chemicals are also known as specification chemicals. Fine chemicals that are used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products are known as pharmaceutical fine chemicals. Agrochemical and pharmaceutical are the two major end-user industries of fine chemicals. The pharmaceutical industry is a major contributor to the fine chemicals market. In terms of demand, pharmaceutical fine chemicals account for more than two-third share of the global fine chemicals market. Thus, pharmaceutical fine chemicals are the most important segment of fine chemicals.
Pharmaceutical fine chemicals are classified into three major categories: active ingredients, key (pivotal or critical) intermediates, and basic intermediates. Active ingredients are responsible for the primary activity of the finished formulation. Key intermediates are fine chemicals that are usually used in the production of one or two pharmaceutical actives. Basic intermediates are considerably simple chemicals, which are primarily employed as building blocks for pharmaceuticals and other types of performance chemicals. Thus, pharmaceutical fine chemicals are used in a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Growth in the pharmaceutical industry is anticipated to fuel the pharmaceutical fine chemicals market.
The pharmaceutical fine chemicals market is estimated to expand at a healthy CAGR during the forecast period. Asia Pacific is projected to be the fastest growing market for pharmaceutical fine chemicals during the forecast period. Expansion in the pharmaceutical industry in India and China coupled with growth in infrastructure is likely to drive the pharmaceutical fine chemicals market in Asia Pacific in the near future. The need for developing countries to secure an independent source of essential drugs at moderate prices is also boosting the demand for pharmaceutical fine chemicals. In these countries a fully integrated production capability has been developed, with pharmaceutical fine chemicals being mass-produced from a blend of imported and locally made raw materials. However, implications of the patent cliff and changes in the funding of health care provision can act as restraints for the growth of the global pharmaceutical fine chemicals market. The pharmaceutical fine chemicals market is projected to become increasingly fragmented in the near future due to intense competition and entry of new players, especially in Asia.
Computing the value of the sales achieved by the pharmaceutical fine chemical industry is considered to be a difficult task. One important reason being that the, statistics on the sale and production of fine chemicals are not in the public domain; rather they are guarded commercial secrets. Another source of difficulty results from the problems associated with the difficult industry structure. During the transformation of a raw material to a finished bulk pharmaceutical, manufacturers usually tend to ship the chemical intermediates between companies multiple times. Thus through double – counting the total sales of the industry will be greater than the actual sales.
In terms of region, Europe and Asia are the largest producers of pharmaceutical fine chemicals. Leading companies in the global pharmaceutical fine chemicals market operate primarily in Europe and Asia. Major companies operating in the global pharmaceutical fine chemicals market include Lonza Group Ltd., Royal DSM N.V. Evonik Industries, Albemarle Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, Eastman Chemical Company, BASF SE, Clariant AG, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH,and Akzo Nobel N.V.