Lupin forays into OTC segment; eyes Rs 3-bn turnover in 5 years

Drug major Lupin today said it has forayed into over-the-counter (OTC) segment in the country with plans to touch Rs 3 billion (Rs 300 crore) turnover in the vertical over the next five years.

The Mumbai-based firm has introduced its legacy product 'Softovac' across the country as an OTC medicine.

"It was imperative for us to enter the OTC segment as the vertical has been steadily growing over the years in the country. Over a horizon of five years we are looking at a turnover of Rs 3 billion (Rs 300 crore) from the business," Lupin Head OTC Business Anil Kaushal told PTI.

For over 30 years, Softovac has been a product of choice for many patients who suffer from constipation and considering the widespread prevalence of this condition, the shift from prescription to OTC has made it more accessible to those who need it the most, he added.

Softovac's shift to OTC was piloted in West Bengal during which the brand witnessed a growth in sales of over 25 per cent, and post the success, a pan-India rollout was initiated.

Lupin, one of the top five pharma companies in the country, plans to launch a variety of products across various categories like vitamins/minerals and lifestyle OTC products going ahead, Kaushal said.

"In the next 12-18 months there will be regular product launches every 3-4 months. We plan to be present across all the major OTC product categories," Kaushal said.

According to industry sources, the Indian consumer healthcare business is pegged at around USD 2.7 billion (over Rs 18,800 crore) and is expected to touch USD 6 billion mark (over Rs 40,000 crore) by around 2026.

In order to reach out to target customers, the company has roped in veteran Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor as the brand ambassador for Softovac.

Lupin Managing Director Nilesh Gupta said: "The OTC segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian pharmaceutical market. This, combined with our capabilities and expertise in this space, makes it a lucrative business opportunity for Lupin."

The company's long-term strategy is to have a portfolio of new products as well as offerings like Softovac, all of it aimed at addressing the unmet needs of patients, he added.

Lupin shares were trading 0.13 per cent down at Rs 917.95 on BSE.

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