India’s pharma market rebounds in April, clocks 51.5% sales growth

Low base of April 2020, pick-up in demand for Covid-19 drugs major contributors to growth


Coronavirus | Corona Remedies | health care

Sohini Das  | 

The domestic pharmaceuticals market has seen a rebound in April, with sales growing 51.5 per cent over last year, thanks to the low base of April 2020 and a pick-up in demand for Covid-19 drugs.

When compared to the domestic sales of April 2019, the growth is around 37 per cent. However, compared to the previous month (March), the growth is 18.4 per cent.

The domestic drug market posted sales worth Rs 15,662 crore in April 2021, up 51.5 per cent compared to Rs 10,337 crore in April 2020.

Compared with April 2019 (Rs 11,402 crore), the sales growth is still significant – 37 per cent.

The moving annual turnover is Rs 1.52 trillion as of April this year, up from Rs 1.43 trillion in April 2020. In April 2019, the domestic pharmaceutical moving annual turnover was Rs 1.3 trillion.

Sudarshan Jain, secretary general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), said that compared to March, the growth is 18.4 per cent.

“If one looks at a moving annual turnover or last 12 months growth, then it is around 6.6 per cent. So, one needs to monitor the growth trend carefully,” Jain added.

According to data released by market research firm AIOCD AWACS, the Indian pharmaceuticals market has seen a robust growth of 51.5 per cent for April for multiple reasons. Firstly, it is because of the low base effect of April 2020 when sales were hit owing to a country-wide lockdown. Secondly, volume growth during the month owing to steady demand, and thirdly, the second wave, which boosted sales of Covid drugs.

Sheetal Sapale, president, marketing, AIOCD-AWACS, said the Indian pharma industry is well prepared for production and distribution exigencies that are expected during lockdown.

“If one looks for the growth drivers, the volume growth has a lion’s share in the growth of the market,” she noted.

Further, the second wave has boosted the sales of drugs having a direct or indirect role in treatment. “Anti-infectives have seen a growth of 134 per cent, and nutritionals 76 per cent. Companies operating in Covid treatment therapy segments have gained substantially through bumper sales for the month,” Sapale added.

This is visible in the growth of companies like Cipla, Glenmark, Zydus Cadila and Dr Reddy’s – which sell a portfolio of Covid drugs like remdesivir and favipiravir.

Cipla also exclusively sells tocilizumab under a licensing agreement with Roche, a drug in high demand now.

Glenmark has posted a robust growth of 181 per cent this April, while Cipla has clocked 73.5 per cent growth. Cipla did not comment, citing a silent period before quarterly results.

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