Shot in the arm: Pharma sales clock double-digit growth in February

Overall, February’s growth rate was led by prices that grew by 5.4 per cent, followed by volumes (3.8 per cent) and new products at 2.9 per cent.
The domestic pharmaceutical market recovered in February. It clocked 12.1 per cent growth, riding on higher demand for respiratory medicines and antibiotics. 

In the past two months, the market was registering single-digit growth — 7.7 per cent in January and 8.8 per cent in December. The growth was essentially led by therapies like respiratory (which saw the highest growth of 17.9 per cent), followed by anti-infectives (clocking 14.1 per cent growth) and cardiac at 13.3 per cent. In fact, eight of the top 10 therapies in the domestic market have registered a growth of over 10 per cent. 

Overall, February’s growth rate was led by prices that grew by 5.4 per cent, followed by volumes (3.8 per cent) and new products at 2.9 per cent. 

As coronavirus fear grips the world, sales of anti-infectives and respiratory medicines have seen a spike. The data from market research firm AIOCD AWACS showed that of the top 20 sub-groups in the respiratory segment, 18 have registered double-digit growth, with an average growth of 16.8 per cent during the month. Similarly, while the anti-infectives segment (comprises antibiotics) grew at 14 per cent, top eight of the 10 sub-groups have shown double-digit growth at an average of 18.7 per cent. 

The AIOCD AWACS, however, noted, “This would be a little too early to comment if the same is due to the widespread fear of viral infection that has taken the world by storm.” 

The data shows that both the anti-infectives and respiratory therapies have suddenly seen a spike in sales. Anti-infectives grew by 14.1 per cent in February, while it was clocking 10.4 per cent growth between April 2019 and February 2020 and 10.8 per cent growth during December 2019-February 2020. Similarly, respiratory therapy medicines were growing at 12.2 per cent between April 2019 and February 2020. It suddenly grew at 17.9 per cent last month. 

In fact, the top molecules in February were antibiotics — amoxicillin and clavulanic acid — that sell under brands like Augmentin from GSK (clocked 19 per cent growth), cefixime, which sell under brands like Taxim clocked over 20 per cent growth, paracetamol (a fever and pain medicine) clocking 18 per cent growth, anti-allergics like montelukast and levocetirizine clocked 17.7 per cent growth.  

February growth is good news for the market, which has been witnessing slowdown in growth for the past few months. January was the third straight month of decelerating growth, slipping from a high growth of 14.5 per cent in November. 

On a moving annual turnover basis, the domestic market clocked Rs 1.4 trillion. Among the top 50 corporates, 37 exhibited double-digit growth, with an average of 16.84 per cent. 

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