Pharma companies focus on limited competition drugs for the US market

On Wednesday Alok Sonig, vice-president (Global), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, will be presenting his company’s strategy for limited-competition products at the ongoing JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. 

Sonig is not alone. His peers from Aurobindo Pharma, Cipla, Glenmark and Wockhardt will also be sharing their strategy for limited-competition drugs at the conference that is known as the biggest annual event for the health care industry globally. As Indian generic makers face pricing pressure in the US, they are looking for limited-completion drugs, which are either complex generic or innovative specialty drugs that require higher spend on R&D and command better pricing power.

“In unbranded markets, we focus on affordable alternative for complex, limited-competition product,” said Sonig in response to Business Standard queries. The company had launched its fourth limited-competition product this fiscal year. This include Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome Injection, Bivalirudin for Injection, and Ezetimibe & Simvastatin Tablets. The US and the Europe constitute the unbranded (pure generic) markets for the company. Branded generic and proprietary are the other two markets for the company. While branded generic comprises emerging markets including India, proprietary entails developing and filing late-stage, high-value products.

There are over 450 companies from across the globe that are participating in this year's event that is being held from 8 January to 11 January in the US. While most of the Indian companies are participating, these five companies are speaking at the conference sharing their strategy on Wednesday. 


*  Limited competition drugs comprise complex generic and branded specialty drugs

*  It requires higher R&D spend to develop these products

*  Indian firms are facing competition in their core of pure generic drugs for the US

*  To overcome pricing pressure they are putting focus on limited competition drugs


Aurobindo Pharma, another Hyderabad-based company, has chalked out its plan to launch products in specialty injectable and oncology as per an investor presentation for the conference that it has put up on its website now. Other growth strategies for the company includes expansion in selected markets through local manufacturing. 

Mumbai-based Cipla has also highlighted specialty focus for North America markets as upcoming growth opportunities. “North America, with its current low base, is set to grow disproportionately and have a higher contribution to Cipla’s top- line,” said the company in its investor presentation for the conference that it has shared on its website. It launched limited competition products Pulmicort and Dacogen in the current financial. 

Cipla plans to focus on specialty product pipeline in the US for respiratory and central nervous system (CNS) ailments.
“This clearly indicates Indian companies rising focus for limited competition drugs for the US market as pure play generic becomes less profitable,” says Amey Chalke, analyst with HDFC Securities. “This will also see increasing R&D spend as well as capital expenditure for advanced manufacturing facilities for these companies as they chase products with better pricing power,” says Chalke.