Indian pharmaceuticals market (IPM) in October 2020 grew 9.6%, which is the highest in the past seven months. This growth was led by volume growth of 0.9% compared with -4% in September 2020, price growth of 5% (4.6%) and an increase in product launches at 3.7% (3.8%), says a research note.
In the report, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) says, "IPM reported total sales of Rs135.4 billion for October 2020. On moving average total basis for the past 12 months, the growth was 3.9% at Rs1,440 billion for October 2020. We see an increased number of prescriber interactions with patients and increased sales and marketing activities by pharmaceutical companies, with unlocking."
According to the report, for the first time in the past seven months, revenues in acute therapies grew 8.2% in October 2020 compared with 4% in September and -5% recorded in August, while chronic segment rose 13.1%.
On moving annual total (MAT) basis, revenues in acute therapies grew 1%, while chronic and sub-chronic therapies 9% and 3%, respectively.
However, as per the report, growth in acute and chronic segments is lower than in cardiac and vitamins. During October, acute therapies such as anti-infective, vitamins, gastro and derma witnessed healthy revenue growth of 7.5%, 22.6%, 13.6% and 10.0%, respectively. At the same time, chronic therapies continued their growth outperformance with cardiac, anti-diabetic and central nervous system (CNS) reporting 19.6%, 9.5% and 9.8%, respectively.
Growth in the acute segment was led by Favipiravir and Remdesivir used in the treatment of COVID-19. Overall, the acute segment that constitutes 45% of IPM, grew 8.2%, while chronic segment that forms balance 55% of IPM, rose 13.1% in October 2020, Ind-Ra says.
During October 2020, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Aristo Pharma Pvt Ltd and Mankind Pharma Ltd significantly outperformed the market, with a growth of 16.6%, 12.3% and 8.6%, respectively. This was led by higher sales of COVID-19-related products and the continued outperformance of chronic therapies, the rating agency says.
Led by COVID-19, there were extended lock-downs, deferment of elective surgeries and restrictions on medical representatives’ movement. Many of the hospitals have shut their outpatient departments (OPDs) and doctors have stopped going to their clinics.
"This has impacted the generation of new prescriptions which is an important growth driver for the pharma industry. The overall IPM performance was impacted during the first quarter (1Q) of FY21 while a recovery was seen in 2QFY21. When compared with other sectors, pharma is less impacted because of its essential service nature," Ind-Ra added.
With gradual unlocking, activity levels are picking up in hospitals and clinics, which should help the pharma industry to gather momentum, the ratings agency says. On IPM performance, it says, there was less impact on growth in 4QFY19-20 due to the availability of inventory at the chemist level and IPM grew 1% in 2QFY20-21 as against a decline of 5.9% in 1QFY20-21.
Ind-Ra says it expects overall normalisation of operations from 3QFY20-21. "We see growth in the chronic segment while lower growth in acute. Pharma companies have deferred their new launches while focusing on digital marketing," the report concludes.