Express Pharma

Mankind’s next force

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RC Juneja‘s Mankind Pharma ranks fifth in India’s pharma market but can he take it beyond flagship brand Manforce? By Express Pharma

201602BddSpl03Mankind Pharma began almost 20 years ago with marketing at its core, sourcing medicines and selling them primarily in tier II and III cities. Though this model was not practised then, its success story was reason enough for its competitors who had not looked at the immense potential of rural and semi-urban areas, to follow suit years later.

The company known for its OTC sexual wellness products, particularly ‘Manforce’ which is a Rs 350 crore brand today, has exhibited phenomenal growth with revenues to the tune of Rs 3000 plus crore in FY2014-15, up from Rs 3.7 crore in FY1995-96. For the month ending March 2015, the company ranked fourth by value and fifth by revenue as  per IMS Health Market reflection report. The coming years will see it getting even bigger, if trends are to be believed.

Not just OTC

According to IMS Health, top 30 pharmaceutical companies in India are looking at nutraceuticals as an avenue for future growth. Not only is this is a reflection of an increased awareness of health and well being among Indians, it also a result of higher disposable incomes and the willingness to spend on dietary supplements as is evident by sites such as healthkart.com.

Mankind Pharma too does not want to remain far behind. It aims to increase its revenues from nutraceuticals to Rs 500 crore (from Rs 300 crore) by end 2015  adding them to the pipeline of chronic cardiovascular diseases and diabetic management drugs.

Pitches in Sheetal Arora, Managing Director, Mankind Pharma, “In the the last few years, the acute segment, including antibiotics has done well, but now the focus is shifting to lifestyle diseases, and this segment has been a major contributor to our revenues in the  last five years. The future is nutraceuticals.” The chronic segment contributed just 0.5 per cent of the revenues before the company shifted base to Delhi in 2002 when the first drug for high blood pressure was launched. This was followed with drugs for diabetes, asthma, neurology and psychiatry disorders.

80 per cent of the products launched in the last two years have been in this category and he believes growth will come in the next two years. The segment  grew in the range of 80-100 per cent over the last year and currently contributes approximately nine per cent to the revenues. His enthusiasm is matched by Arjun Juneja, Director of Operations, Mankind Pharma, who believes that with India home to a huge diabetic population that is growing exponentially every year, the market for nutritional supplements for pre-diabetics is also set to increase and presents a tremendous scope.

“We launched multivitamin supplement HealthOk in the market last year which is almost a Rs 75 crore brand by this year. I count it as our breakthrough in nutraceuticals,” he reaffirms. He is of the opinion that the Indian nutraceuticals market is evolving, guidelines and regulatory framework will be critical to its growth. “I don’t see the industry going down anytime in the future,” he stresses. Even as regulations in India are evolving, Arora believes that emerging countries including India have immense potential that needs to be tapped. He particularly cites the example of Myanmar and Kenya.

OTC currently constitutes 10 per cent of the company’s revenues with seven to eight products in the market, with plans to introduce one to two products every year. Arora adds that most of the products in the acute segment – antibiotics, antifungals etc –  are in demand with me-too brands launched by the company as well. Cardio and diabetes management together contribute 15-18 per cent of their revenues and they hope to gain another two  per cent on this in the coming years. However, for the the future, he sees growth coming from niche brands in the gynaecology, cosmetics and OTC segment. There’ll be a renewed focus on healthcare oriented OTC products such as Prega News, Manforce and Unwanted 72, well known brands from the company which together make eight per cent of the revenue. Adds Arjun Juneja, “Immediate expansion would be in the infertility segment which is catching up with the increase in the number of  IVF clinics. The drugs are in the development phase and should hit the market in another three months.”

Multi-pronged approach

Mankind Pharma has traditionally been a domestic company with more than 90 per cent of the revenues coming from domestic sales. Exports comprise a measly one per cent of the company revenues. “We entered Sri Lanka three years back and have been aggressively entering foreign markets since the past two years. We hope to generate revenues of Rs 150 – 200 crores from exports in the next three years,” Arora says emphatically. However, today it has established its presence in 15 countries including Africa, CIS and South-East Asia. Most of these markets are non regulated or semi-regulated markets. The company is aggressively looking at incre