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CVD drugs, prescription records high; cough and cold dips in June second half: Pronto Consult

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Immunity boosters and vitamins continue to be in purchase preference

The second half of June month witnessed growth momentum in the pharmaceutical products purchase, especially in the cardiovascular (CVD) therapeutic areas. According to a research report prepared by Dr Hari Natarajan, Founder & MD and Dr Karishma Shah, Founder & Director, Pronto Consult, during the second half of June 2020, the medical prescription of CVD drugs recorded a clear uptrend in pharma purchase. However, immunity-linked products continued to have a strong purchase preference in a similar period.

The report is based on the research conducted over 4,000 consumer bills by chemists from eight different cities across India, namely Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Pune.

According to the research report, the first quarter of the financial year 2021, (i.e. June 20) saw the increased purchase of telmisartan, bisoprolol, benidipine, amlodipine and clinidipine, among others. Besides, this plain rosuvastatin and atorvastatin were also seen in the majority of the bills. However, cough and cold and anti-bacterials segment saw a dip in their purchases in the second half of June compared to the first half, as more purchases were done at the onset of the monsoon, stated the report.

Other therapies which were present in the consumer bills are Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), laxatives or things like masks, general hygiene products, devices like oxymeters, etc.

Against this, immunity booster products remain in the purchase preference list of customers.

“The demand for immunity boosters such as chyawanprash, probiotics, green tea and products containing amla, tulsi, haldi, honey, ginger, lemongrass etc have been buoyant since last three months, informed Dr Hari Natarajan, Founder and MD Pronto Consult.

“People’s desire to stay fit and immune to illness has driven the purchases of these products. Online searches for the word ‘immunity’ increased by nearly 350 per cent, not only in metros but also in the hinterland”, said Dr Karishma Shah, Founder & Director, Pronto Consult.

The report informs that cities like Secunderabad, Pryagraj (Allahabad), Ghaziabad, Patna, Bengaluru have registered maximum searches for ‘immunity’ or ‘immune booster’. Similarly, ‘vitamin’ cities which lead in the list are Secunderabad, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Thane, Thiruvananthapuram, New Delhi and Nagpur.

Besides this, the other highlights of the reports are:

  • Nearly 45 per cent retailers mentioned that nearly 25 per cent medicines in the prescription were not available with them.
  • 80 per cent stockists reduced their operation time, ranging from two to four hours.
  • Nearly 500 per cent increase in digital consultations.
  • Nearly 33 per cent doctors wanted pharma companies to reduce webinars.
  • 79 per cent doctors wanted pharma companies’ medical representative to do prior booking for e-call or F2F meeting.
  • 41 per cent doctors felt that webinars done by pharma companies have no relevance or significance
  • 65 per cent doctors were irritated at getting messages at odd times, were thinking of blocking the numbers.

Commenting on the report’s findings and consumption behaviour, Anil Khanna, Partner, Wisdomsmith Advisors, said, “Consumer bills analysis clearly communicate that immunity and the chronic ailments continue to be of key concern, especially when media reports state that people with co-morbidities like cardiac and diabetic ailments are at bigger risk from coronavirus. Further, it’s safe to assume that this purchase behaviour will continue to prevail in the near future.”

Explaining about the factors that led to unavailability of certain prescribed medicines at the chemists’ level, Khanna highlighted, “Due to various restrictions or state /local level lockdowns, companies are still struggling to ensure continuous availability of their brands. This is primarily a supply chain issue, as even pharma distributors are working for reduced duration, which is why there is a significant incidence of prescription bounce happening at the chemists’ level. The non-availability of brands is again for the high priority therapies like chronic or antibiotics, or vitamins. With the passage of time, this problem should be resolved, as normal operations at full capacity begin.”

During the month of June 2020, many state governments had imposed lockdown in their respective states, and considering the past experience of extended lockdown in various phases, many people opted to make purchases for nearly four to six weeks. Thus, it is likely that it may have an impact on the pharma products purchase pattern in July 2020.

With additional inputs from Usha Sharma

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