A nurse administers a flu shot at Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton, Illinois, U.S. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Late Flu Surge In U.S. To Help Lupin, Cadila Healthcare And Natco Pharma

A severe cold wave in the U.S. towards the end of the winter has caused a spike in cases of flu, increasing demand for Tamiflu made by Indian drugmakers Cadila Healthcare Ltd. and Lupin Ltd.

This is good for Cadila and Lupin which continue to hold their 26 percent and 13 percent market share of Tamiflu drug sales, Anubhav Aggarwal, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said in a note. Natco Pharma Ltd.’s partner Alvogen has 3 percent share in capsules and 35 percent in suspensions.

Tamiflu suspension and capsules are prescribed to treat influenza in patients two weeks of age and older if symptoms last more than two days. The flu season tends to end by mid-February. But the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that influenza is widespread in 30 states causing a shortage of flu medications.

That comes after demand fell earlier because of a milder winter. IMS had indicated that by January end, Tamiflu prescriptions were 75 percent below the year-ago period. Now, demand for suspension is down 13 percent year-on-year compared with a 50 percent decline in January-end, while capsules prescription are down 50 percent against a decline of 75 percent by the end of last month. That points to a pick-up in February.

Lupin's management, after the third-quarter earnings, had said Tamiflu sales in the U.S. were tepid because of a less intense flu season. The drugmaker has now seen a slight gain in market share, according to Girish Bakhru, analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.