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Indian pharma brands pull ahead

News, 01 November 2016

NEW DELHI: Indian pharmaceutical brands are outperforming those promoted by multinational companies and command a large and growing share of the local market, according to new data.

Figures from the AIOCD-AWACS, the market research arm of the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), show that, over the past four years, Indian pharma companies have consistently grown faster than international ones, the Business Standard reported.

In the year to March 2016, for example, they grew 13.1% compared to the 10.5% registered by international companies and now claim a 77% share of the domestic market.

Analysts pointed to the fact that global firms tend to be less flexible in terms of responding to local conditions and demand.

As an example, Hari Natarajan, vice-president (business intelligence), India and global audit at AIOCD- AWACS, cited the availability of teneligliptin, a new class of oral anti-diabetic agents launched a year ago.

"There have been numerous launches by Indian players in the past few months, and almost 50 products are available in the market at the moment," he said. "Hardly any multinational firm has this product in the Indian market."

As well as being more dependent on their non-Indian product pipeline, global companies typically have a different marketing strategy.

One analyst described it thus: "MNCs have a much smaller field force and usually target specialist doctors for their products, while the field force size of Indian companies is much larger and they leave no stone unturned to tap the general physician in the neighbourhood store."

Rajeev Sibal, president, India region formulations at drug company Lupin, elaborated on the factors that enable India pharma companies to take more than three quarters of the local market.

"The obvious ones are better geographic reach and penetration, higher brand equity and recall with doctors and health care practitioners, innovative marketing strategies and programmes to increase presence in tier-II and tier-III cities as well as rural areas and finally, a more adoptive and flexible business model when it comes to creating new opportunities and growing market share in a hyper-competitive and fragmented market place."

While pharma companies are targeting doctors across the country, OTC brands believe there is plenty of scope for growth in the consumer market.

Nandini Piramal, who heads the OTC business of Piramal Enterprises, told The Hindu of her intention to invest in brands and expand distribution.

"I am sure that OTC is bound to grow because today people have no time to go to doctors," she said.

Data sourced from Business Standard, The Hindu; additional content by Warc staff