Prices, New Launches Aid India’s Pharma Sales In December
Capsules are laid out for inspection on a production line (Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)

Prices, New Launches Aid India’s Pharma Sales In December

Indian pharmaceutical market’s growth picked up pace in December on account of a rise in prices and new products.

The year-on-year growth in pharma sales stood at 8.4% last month compared with a 1.3% increase in November, Nomura reported citing data released by AIOCD-AWACS — a pharmaceutical market research organisation.

Growth in the pharma market was supported by price and new product growth of 5.0% and 3.1% year-on-year, respectively, during December 2020, the report said.

  • Average price growth over the past nine months was 4.6% over the year earlier, while average new product growth over the same period was 2.5%.
  • Volume growth remained muted at 0.3% year-on-year in December 2020 but improved over a 6.9% decline in November.
  • The volume declined 1.9% in the quarter ended December. But that’s an improvement from a drop of 6.3% and 11.1% during the three months ended September and June 2020, respectively.
Prices, New Launches Aid India’s Pharma Sales In December

Therapy-Wise Trend

Acute therapies—for severe but short-duration illness—such as anti-infectives, pain and gastro-intestinal seem to be stabilising after continuously contracting between April and August 2020, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nomura’s report said.

Still, anti-infectives and pain grew at a slower pace than the broader market during the reported month. While pain therapy posted growth after nine straight months of decline, anti-infectives ex-Covid-19-related drugs such as Favipiravir and Remdesivir declined 4% over the year earlier in December, the report said.

Prices, New Launches Aid India’s Pharma Sales In December

Cardiac therapy, however, demonstrated sustained growth during the pandemic. Its average year-on-year growth over the past nine months stood at 12.8%.

The chronic segment, according to AIOCD-AWACS, has about 31% market share, while the acute segment accounts for close to 47% of the Indian pharma market.

Also read: Cardiac Therapy Outpaces Demand For Covid-19 Drugs During The Pandemic

Company-Wise Trend

IPCA Laboratories Ltd. outperformed peers in December, helped by an increase in traction in pain or analgesics and gastro segments.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Cadila Healthcare Ltd. and Cipla Ltd. continued to grow on the back of Covid-19-related drugs such as Favipiravir, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, even as sales of such products slowed in December.

Remdesivir monthly sales, according to AIOCD AWACS, fell to Rs 107.3 crore in December from Rs 124.2 crore in November. Favipiravir sales declined to Rs 33.1 crore in December from Rs 64.4 crore in November.

Way Ahead

For the India formulation business, Nomura expects a sustained recovery in the base business, that’s ex-impact of Covid-19 drugs. Cost savings of 1.0-1.5% to sales will sustain beyond the pandemic, the brokerage said.

According to Emkay Global, Indian pharma market is expected to grow at high single to low double-digit in the coming months. That implies FY21 growth for the overall market in mid-single digits.

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