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Home >Markets >Mark To Market >Pharma growth hits double digits, sustenance holds key

The Indian pharma market reported double-digit growth in March 2021 and that should bring cheers to investors. Reports indicate that the industry grew 10.3% year-on-year (y-o-y) in March. This is much better compared to 1.1% in February 2021 and 8.9% in March 2020.

To an extent, the growth was aided by last year’s low base. Even so, analysts maintained that there has been a significant recovery in the pharma market. Pricing was among the key growth drivers, adding 5.1% to the growth in March. New product launches contributed 3.6% to growth, while volume growth was a bit tepid at 1.6%. Key growth drivers among the therapies include, gastroenterology, VMN (nebulizer therapies for respiratory care), vitamins, dermatology and gynaecology.

Strong rebound
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Strong rebound

According to reports, VMNs, gastro and pain therapies grew by 22.2%, 21.6% and 14.6% y-o-y, respectively. Anti-infectives therapy recovered, with 8.5% y-o-y growth vis-à-vis an 11% decline in February. This is said to have aided acute segment growth. “The strong growth in these therapies is partly on account of higher offtake of covid-19-related medicines on a y-o-y basis," said analysts at Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. Covid-19-related medicines, such as VMNs in the case of Alkem Laboratories Ltd, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, favipiravir in the case of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd, and remdesivir in the case of Cadila Healthcare Ltd and Cipla Ltd have partly aided growth for respective firms. Among companies, Glenmark saw robust 23.2% y-o-y growth in March driven by good growth in the dermatology segment and other portfolio drugs. Biocon Ltd reported a stellar show with growth being driven by anti-neoplastic (chemotherapy-related) and anti-infectives (up 91.6% and 80.8% y-o-y, respectively). Alkem and Cadila did well, too, clocking over 16% growth. Cipla, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and Ipca Laboratories Ltd impressed with domestic growth beating pharma market growth. GlaxoSmithKline, Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Lupin Ltd and Sun Pharmaceuticals, however, posted lower than industry growth.

But it remains to be seen whether the performance sustains. “Although we believe March numbers were largely driven by underlying recovery, April could again get tough as the pandemic reaches new heights and lockdowns are again being considered in parts of the country," said analysts at Jefferies India Pvt. Ltd.

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