A bitter pill: Domestic pharma market growth slides to 1.1% in February

Respiratory medicine sales growth has slumped by 20.3 per cent in February.
Domestic pharma market is witnessing a slow recovery, with growth crawling to 1.1 per cent in February after a 4.5 per cent growth in the previous month. December, in fact, was a strong month — the industry clocked an 8.5 per cent growth.

In February, the key therapy areas of the Indian Pharmaceutical Market (IPM) witnessed slow growth — while cardiac grew 7.3 per cent compared to 8.8 per cent in the month before, anti-diabetic reported 4.3 per cent growth.

Sheetal Sapale, president, marketing for AIOCD AWACS, a market research firm, said as anti-infectives and respiratory therapies have failed to register growth, the overall IPM growth has been slow.

“Anti-infectives account for almost 17 per cent of the IPM and it has shown a decline in growth by 11.3 per cent. People are still working from home, stepping out less, taking care of hygiene and these are all contributing to lesser sales of anti-infective drugs like antibiotics,” Sapale said.

Respiratory, another key therapy area, has already missed the peak winter season. “Wearing of masks, staying indoors have all resulted in slow offtake of respiratory drugs,” Sapale added.

Respiratory medicine sales growth has slumped by 20.3 per cent in February.

A senior executive of a drug firm, which has a sizeable respiratory portfolio, admitted that the sales have not picked up as they had expected. “We had lined up buffer stock and prepped our channel network ahead of the winter as those are the peak demand months, especially in North India. The demand has not been as we had expected and now that extra stock the channel is carrying is resulting in the decline in growth in these months,” the person explained.

Ever since the lockdown was lifted in June last year, therapies like anti-infectives have continued to struggle. Associated therapies like pain and analgesics and gastrointestinal drugs, too, have witnessed a slow growth.

Gastrointestinal therapy has grown 9.9 per cent in February versus 14.3 percent in January.

Pain and analgesics have grown by only 2.3 per cent in February, halved from the 5 per cent growth in January.

Among the top corporate, most have shown a decline in growth compared to the previous month. Cipla, which has been growing at a fast clip for the past few months riding on sales of Covid-19 drugs, has reported a muted 1.7 per cent growth rate in February.

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