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Home >Companies >People >We’ll go for differential pricing in India: Cadila’s Patel

Mumbai: Cadila Healthcare Ltd, which has been working on several new drugs under its dedicated discovery arm, announced its first discovery molecule saroglitazar, a first-of-its-kind medicine to treat dyslipidemia, a crucial condition not addressed in most diabetic patients around the world so far. Chairman and managing director Pankaj R. Patel spoke in an interview about the success. Edited excerpts:

So far, all Indian research-based drug makers were averse to taking the discovery molecules to the final stage on their own due to high financial risk. What made you different?

Financial risk is always associated with drug discovery. But the benefit that a blockbuster drug can bring to the business can be phenomenal if you can take that risk. Our research team was almost sure about the success of this project, though we had to do all the possible tests and experiments to ensure this doesn’t fail half way. And, of course, the company was quite committed to bring out at least one of its research products to the market.

We had options to license it out earlier. But we were ready to take a calculated risk and at the same time always expecting the unexpected. A 2,000 crore spend and a wait of at least 10 years for the outcome of a risky research project was not something small for an Indian company. We have done it. So, it’s not only a proud moment for Cadila, but also for the country’s drug industry.

Research on the glitazar family of drugs was always associated with safety concerns, especially cardiac risks. This was the reason that many such projects failed in the past.

This was one of the key concerns that my team was worried about. Hence, we had to do all possible tests to ensure the molecule is safe on this front. Now I can very confidently say that the drug can never fail on that front. An extensive trial outcome on the drug has also showed that it was well tolerated and had a better safety profile than the comparators (a term used to describe companies that do similar research work). Further, it has a non-renal route of target elimination, and did not show adverse events like oedema, weight gain, myopathies, or derangment of liver or kidney functions.

Since you have a patent on the drug in India and other parts of the world, how will you price the drug in India keeping your global pricing strategy in mind?

We target the global market and a global pricing strategy needs to be worked out. But in India, it is going to be a differential pricing because we took the advantages of India to keep our research costs low. So we have to give it (the benefits) back to the patients in the local market.

You will need to do market-specific trials to enter other markets besides creating marketing networks there. Will you partner with others in overseas markets?

We have to do specific trials in other markets. But we hope to do it on our own. But we may have marketing partners for the product abroad.

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