The domestic pharma retail market registered a robust growth rate of around 10% in 2018, nearly doubling year-on-year, buoyed by higher volumes and launch of new drugs. In 2017, the market was impacted by the introduction of GST, resulting in a meagre growth rate of 5.5% — the lowest in recent years.
Anti-diabetics, cardio-vascular, respiratory and derma medicines ended the year with strong double-digit growth, while overall drivers of the Rs.1.29-lakh-crore market include higher volumes (4.8%), price increase (2.2%) and new launches (2.4%), data from market research firm AIOCDAwacs said. For December alone, the market showed 9.8% growth, higher than in November. In fact, growth has been consistently above 9% over the last four quarters with Abbott, Lupin, Torrent and Intas growing at strong double-digit rates during the year, it said.
Anti-diabetic therapy human premix insulin Mixtard topped the pecking order, followed by anti-diabetes medicines including Glycomet GP, Lantus and Janumet for the year. Ayurvedic hepatic protector Liv 52 assumed the fifth slot. Anti-infectives is the largest therapy, followed by cardiac, gastro-intestinal and anti-diabetic. Expansion was driven by top domestic companies contributing close to 43%, and collectively outgrowing the market. The north and west zones in the country registered strong growth in double digits.
MNCs grew 9% during December, while domestic companies recorded higher growth at 10%. Among the top MNCs, Boehringer Ingelheim was the fastest growing, followed by Bayer and Astra Zeneca. While anti-infectives grew 5%, respiratory segment slowed down at 2.7% during the month. As against this, dermatology grew faster at 10.5%, gastro-intestinal drugs posted double-digit sales growth (10.4%), while vitamins grew at 8.7%. Among the chronic therapies, anti-diabetic and cardio drugs posted robust sales growth at 16.9% and 16.5% respectively.
Sales of fixed-dose formulations, many of which have been banned and are facing regulatory glare, slumped, while the non-FDC (fixed dose combination) market grew 9.3% during December.