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The proposed Uniform Code of Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices is aimed at regulating promotional practices in the pharma industry, such as offering gifts to medical professionals. Photo: AFP
The proposed Uniform Code of Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices is aimed at regulating promotional practices in the pharma industry, such as offering gifts to medical professionals. Photo: AFP

Pharma sales recover in June after decline in April and May

  • Sales for Rs11,250 crore was recorded, with all segments, especially chronic drugs, showing a rebound
  • Growth in sales for some industry-leading companies was sluggish at 0.2-1.8%, against the industry average of 2.4%

Sales of medicines recorded a growth of 2.4% year on year (y-o-y) in June, indicating a recovery from two consecutive months of decline caused by the lockdown to prevent the spread of covid-19. Sales for the month came in at 11,250 crore, with all segments, especially chronic drugs, showing a rebound, according to data from market research firm AIOCD-AWACS.

“There is evidence of significant revival in some therapies. Cardiac [drugs] registered a monthly growth of 13.9% compared with 3.9% in May, [while] anti-diabetic registered growth of 8.5% compared with 1.1% in May," AIOCD-AWACS said in a statement.

Respiratory drugs also registered a 4% y-o-y growth compared with a 6% decline in May.

In April and May, overall pharmaceutical sales were down 11% and 9% respectively as visits to clinics and out-patient departments of hospitals shrank and elective surgeries were postponed for fear of contracting covid at healthcare facilities. In June, while acute segments such as anti-infective drugs also showed some recovery, the rate for some continued to be negative.

Anti-infective medicines were among the worst-hit during the lockdown as the chances of contracting infection reduced with more people staying home and with visits to the doctor falling. In June, sales of anti-infectives were down 10% y-o-y, better than the 21% decline recorded in May. Pain and analgesics segment also record a 2% decline, against a 17% slump in May.

Gastrointestinal drugs showed a marginal growth of 0.4% y-o-y in June, against the 13% slump in May.

Vitamins and minerals posted a 6% growth against a 9% decline in May.

Among the 20 largest drug makers, the market-leader for hydroxychloroquine, Ipca Laboratories, recorded the highest growth of 19% in June. The company also had the highest growth in sales for April-June at 10%.

Unlike the preceding two months, when most firms recorded decline in sales, only two drugmakers recorded a fall in June—Alkem Laboratories Ltd and GlaxosmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

With sales of respiratory drugs recovering, market leader Cipla also recorded a 7% rise in sales in June, against the 13% decline in May. India’s largest multi-national also posted a similar trend.

However, growth for other industry leaders such as Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and Zydus Cadila was not stellar, with sales increasing in the range0.2-1.8%, against the industry average of 2.4%.

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