Express Pharma

COVID-19 pushes up sales of cardiac, anti-diabetic drugs

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The sudden change in preferred therapies by masses has just taken a sharp turn from pre-COVID period when gastric, vitamin therapies were most widely used

The changes in the medication needs of the masses due to the novel coronavirus pandemic seems to impact the operation of pharmaceutical companies with those dealing in respiratory, anti-diabetic, cardiac therapies performing much better than others having anti-infective, gastro, vitamin or pain therapies in their portfolio.

The sudden change in preferred therapies by masses has just taken a sharp turn from the pre-COVID period when gastric, vitamin therapies were most widely used. Probably the concern that coronavirus impacts adversely chronic heart, lung and diabetics severely had turned people into buying more of medicines for these ailments.

In June, demand for cardiac drugs registered the strongest growth of 15.9 per cent y-o-y in terms of value and anti-diabetic segment grew at 12.7 per cent y-o-y due to continued buying during the period of the lockdown.

Similarly, the neuro segment (+14.6 per cent y-o-y) saw higher demand but surprisingly value growth for respiratory went down to 4.5 per cent even though COVID-19 is known to impact this critical functioning of the human body.

Segments in acute therapies like anti-infective, gynaec/vitamins, pain, gastro where the demand for drugs has always remained higher than others, declined year-on-year in June bringing out the shift in drug use by Indians, especially during the time of lockdown.

The first quarter period (April-June) is seasonally a strong quarter for acute therapies and the demand loss is, thus, unlikely to fully recover.

According to an Emkay research report, the changing preference of drugs by people has also had an impact on the Indian pharmaceutical industry with companies having stronger drug brands dealing with respiratory, cardiac and anti-diabetic therapies (in chronic care) registering growth higher than the industry average.

Accordingly, while Dr Reddy’s Labs, Alkem having higher drug concentration in acute exposure category underperformed while the Indian Pharmaceutical Market (IPM), Sun Pharma, Torrent Pharma, Lupin, outperformed the market due to their high chronic portfolio.

Cipla, Glenmark outperformed due to strong respiratory demand, while IPCA benefitted from high hydroxychloroquine sales, which has been touted as wonder drug having the potential to positively impact severe Covid-19 patients.

The brokerage report said that after falling for two straight months due to COVID-19, Indian Pharmaceutical Market (IPM) growth recovered (+5.8 per cent y-o-y) in June, led by cardiac and anti-diabetes segments. Volumes fell 1 per cent y-o-y (vs. 16/13 per cent fall in April/May) but closer to normal levels of last year. On moving average turnover basis, IPM growth stood at 7 per cent y-o-y, while volume growth was flat.

“We expect a gradual recovery from Q2 and 6-8 per cent growth for FY21,” the report said.

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