15 january 2013
The year 2012 which started with a bang for the domestic pharma retail market, registering a doubledigit growth, ended with a whimper. In December, the market recorded one of the lowest growth rates of a little over 5%.
The sluggish growth follows lacklustre November sales, which grew a tad over 4%. Sales in November were low due to most retail shops remaining closed during Diwali festivities, industry experts say.
2012 started with a robust first quarter, with January-March recording over 18% growth. It maintained the momentum over the second and third quarters, witnessing nearly 17% and 13.5% growth, respectively, data from market research firm AIOCD said. The fourth quarter of October-December registered a growth of over 9%. The trend over the quarters points to a slowdown although it does not seem as drastic, as the last quarter suggests.
The main reason attributed to the slowdown is the flat growth in anti-infectives, which has the largest weightage of 17% in the pharma retail market. Poor sales in antidiabetic and cardiac drugs also led to a lower growth. Sales of respiratory drugs, painkillers and analgesics were stagnant during the month, indicating lower respiratory infections and illnesses.
Though the month reported sluggish sales, certain companies showed a strong double-digit growth. Among the top 25 in December were Sun Pharma (17.3%), Zydus (16.2%), Mankind (14.5%), Macleods (16%), Intas (13.4%) and USV (19%).
Ganesh Nayak, executive director at Zydus Cadila, said that a low growth was definitely a concern for the industry. But given the fact that industry had grown well for most period last year, one month may not change the overall direction, he said, adding pharma industry was seasonal in nature with October-December being usually one of the lean periods.
Zydus Cadila was able to record a robust growth as it is strong in chronic therapies which are immune to seasonal effects.
The first quarter of this year is a crucial period, wherein focus needs to be reoriented into profitable rural penetration, higher detection and patient conversion into chronic therapies and improving compliance to drive the overall market growth by volumes, said Ameesh Masurekar director, AIOCD AWACS.