Meanwhile, industry sources claim several Indian companies
are ready with their versions of gliptins and would launch in December. At present, the cost of a single dose of Vildagliptin is Rs 20-22, and usually a patient takes two doses per day.
“The price of the drug can come down to as much as Rs 5 per dose by smaller firms. Such patent expiries are huge opportunities for smaller firms to grow. At least 50 companies
(mid-sized and big ones) are ready with their Vildgliptin product and bulk drug supply,” said the national head of the cardio-diabetic division of a mid-sized drug firm.
His firm is ready with their Vildagliptin with branding and marketing strategies in place.
A look at the top 10 brands of Novartis in India shows that mature brands like Voveran and Calcium Sandoz are clocking low single-digit growth — 3.6 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively. The top 10 brands have multiple vitamin and mineral brands, which are stable, but now face competition from home-grown players.
Novartis has tie-ups in place with Cipla, USV Pharma, Emcure, and Abbott for vildagliptin. Sources indicate that most of these companies have their own versions of the drug ready.
“Novartis would be forced to cut prices, but it is unlikely to bring it down to half or so. It would continue to benefit from having a well-entrenched brand in the Indian market, Galvus Met and patients in the chronic category seldom switch to other brands,” said an analyst who tracks multinational drug firms.
India has over 72 million people suffering from diabetes. We believe that there continues to be a huge unmet need in this segment. We at Novartis will continue our commitment to patients living with diabetes. Our patent for vildagliptin comes to an end in December this year. We are unable to share our plans post expiry of the patent as this is competitive information," said a Novartis spokesperson.
Gliptins as a category are clocking a 35-40 per cent growth rate, compared to the diabetes segment, which is growing at 12-14 per cent. At least four key gliptins (Sitagliptin, Linagliptin, Vildagliptin, and Saxagliptin) are expected to go off-patent within the next five years.
Earlier, once Mitsubishi Pharma's patent for teneligliptin was over, several domestic players rushed to launch the drug. This had led to a price war.
Glenmark was the first to launch its generic version in June 2015 at Rs 19.90 per tablet per day treatment. It brought down prices after Mankind Pharma and Zydus Cadila launched teneligliptin priced at Rs 7 per dose. In the next two years, over 100 teneligliptin brands were launched.