Indian pharmaceutical market grow at 17.7% in August

India’s $1.8 trillion pharmaceuticals market is showing signs of returning to normalcy as sales of Non-COVID products, which account for 63 percent of the market, is rising strongly while growth of some pandemic-related products like vitamins has tapered.

The Indian pharmaceutical market (IPM) grew an annual 17.7 percent in August 2021, accelerating from 13.7 percent in July.

The growth was led by improving sales of non-COVID-19 products in a sign of returning normalcy following the disruption caused due to the second wave of the pandemic.

The demand for COVID-19-related drugs remained strong but has tapered as the second wave receded in most parts of India.

The size of the Indian pharmaceutical market is Rs. 1.8 trillion for the year ended August 31.

The non-COVID-19 drugs range, which makes up 63 percent of the market, is now growing in mid-teens, while the COVID-19 portfolio still continues to grow faster.

In August, volumes rose 9 percent while price growth was 5.9 percent, and 2.9 percent growth came from new launches.

The market is recovering after sales of medicines grew just 2 percent in FY21, hit by COVID-19-related lockdowns and disruption of non-COVID-19 care. In the first quarter of FY22, it grew 37.8 on YoY basis due to the low base of 2020.

Acute therapy that consists of anti-infectives, pain and analgesics saw sales grow 24.5 percent, while chronic and sub-chronic therapies grew 10.1 percent and 14.7 percent respectively.

On Moving Annual Turnover (MAT) basis ending August 31, Glenmark reported the highest growth at 28.9 percent, followed by Emcure, 27.8 percent; Aristo, 23.8 percent; Cipla, 19.8 percent; Alkem, 18.6; and Dr Reddy’s, 15.4 percent. Market leader Sun Pharma with an 8.1 percent market share grew at 12.7 percent.

Ipca, with 38.5 percent YoY growth; Aristo, 34 percent; FDC, 33.6 percent; Indoco Remedies, 33 percent; Ajanta, 31.7 percent; Macleods, 28.8 percent; and Mankind, 27.1 percent; have grown faster than the overall pharmaceuticals market in August.

Ipca’s strong performance led by the Zerodol franchise in the pain segment, which grew 46 percent YoY. Ajanta saw broad-based growth across therapies driving overall YoY growth.

Cadila Healthcare, 11.9 percent, and Cipla, 12.6 percent, lagged the industry’s growth in the month. Glenmark’s sales contracted 17 percent YoY in August due to a drop in COVID-19 cases.

Growth expectations

“The Indian pharmaceuticals market is expected to grow in mid-teens ahead,” said Anand Rathi Research in its latest report.

“In the near term, recovery in volumes and higher acute-therapy sales would boost market growth. In the long run, though, factors such as greater availability of medicines and healthcare facilities would be crucial. Chronic therapies would outstrip acute therapies in the long run as emerging lifestyle diseases boost demand for chronic drugs,” the report added.

The sector continues to price hikes of 5-6 percent while launches will contribute markedly to growth, the report said.

Rating agency India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) expects more moderate growth of 12 percent in FY22.

Volumes in chronic therapies continue to be lower due to the change in prescription patterns in 2020.

Sales of cardiac products grew 6.3 percent and anti-diabetes 8.6 percent in August

Vitamins, which had benefited from the COVID-19 outbreak, are now seeing moderation in growth, and were up 10.6 percent in August.

“Experts indicate fewer patient follow-ups and the smaller total patient pool are due to patients who succumbed to COVID-19 being comorbid and diabetic/cardiac patients,” said brokerage house Motilal Oswal in its report.

“The new diagnosis in diabetes for COVID-19-induced patients and the normalization of the patient-doctor connect would revive growth in the Cardio/Diabetes therapy over the near-to-medium term,” the report added.