Antibiotic sales drive domestic pharma mkt down 11.2% in lockdown-hit April

With the lockdown in effect for the entire month of April, there was hardly any fresh prescription from doctors.
After growing by almost 9 per cent in March when consumers stocked chronic medication out of panic, the domestic pharmaceutical market declined by 11.2 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in April. The prime drag on the market was the drop in sales of acute therapy medicines like antibiotics, apart from dermatology and gynaecological drugs that witnessed a sharp fall. 

According data from the market research firm AIOCD AWACS, the sale of anti-infectives (which comprise 11 per cent of the domestic pharma market) fell by 21.5 per cent, while gyanaecological drugs (around 5 per cent of the market) dropped by 23 per cent and dermatology segment (6 per cent of the market) fell by 22.5 per cent. 

Senior executive of an acute therapy focussed company said that with people staying indoors they did not contract much of infections, and this resulted in the fall of antibiotic sales. Segments like dermatology, gyanaecology, vaccines etc depend on fresh prescriptions. With the lockdown in effect for the entire month of April, there was hardly any fresh prescription from doctors. "If one compares the Indian pharma market (IPM) on a month-on-month basis, the fall is much sharper, at around 19 per cent," he added. 

The firm is now actively pursuing doctors through webinars and is helping doctors to on-board several telemedicine platforms to generate prescriptions. Acute therapy focussed firms like Wockhardt and Alkem saw a steep decline in April numbers - 26.9 per cent and 16.6 per cent respectively. 

Analysts at Motilal Oswal pointed out that for firms like Alkem the sales growth was weighed by decline in anti-infective (-20.2 per cent YoY) which forms almost 40 per cent of the company's sales. While most firms have reported a decline in sales growth, Mumbai-based JB Chemicals, the makers of Metrogyl, saw a 5 per cent YoY growth in April riding on the cardiac segment. MOSL analysts said that JB Chemicals performance was driven by a 30.8 per cent YoY growth in the company's cardiac segment. Pranabh Mody, president, JB Chemicals told Business Standard that they had launched a drug in the segment just before the lockdown started in March through webinars with doctors. 

While panic buying had boosted sales of cardiac and anti-diabetic segments in March, these did not fare too badly in April either - posting  5.9 per cent and 6.4 per cent YoY growth respectively. 

Ipca, which makes hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, posted a 35.7 per cent growth in the sale of anti-malarial drugs.

Growth Rate April (%)
JB Chemicals 5
Ipca 4.6
Sun Pharma -5.7
DRL -8.5
Cipla -13
Cadila Healthcare -11.6
Alkem -16.6
GSK -22.4
Wockhardt -26.9
Sanofi -10.6

Therapy Area
April Growth Rate (%)
Cardiac 5.9
Anti-diabetic 6.4
Gastrointestinal -16
Vitamins/Minerals and Nutrients -17.1
Respiratory -0.3
Pain/analgesics -20.3
Dermatology -22.5
Gyaneocological -23
Vaccines -25.8
Anti-malarials 11

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