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Indoco Aims For Growth Despite ‘Inconsistent Indian Pharma Market’

Indoco Aims For Growth Despite ‘Inconsistent Indian Pharma Market’

Source : 'Generics Bulletin'

After predicting domestic growth on the back of an expected bounce back of the Indian pharma market, Indoco Remedies has now re-evaluated its position as the company believes that it may have to “wait for some time to see consistent good growth in the domestic formulation market.”

Speaking exclusively to Generics Bulletin, Indoco’s managing director, Aditi Panandikar, observed that the month-on-month Indian pharma market trend for the last four months showed inconsistency.

Citing data released by Indian market researcher AWACS (Advanced Working, Action & Correction System), formed by the All Indian Origin Chemists & Distributors Ltd, Panandikar pointed out that the Indian pharma market grew by 9.8% in October 2020, but by just 1.1% in November 2020, then by 8.5% in December 2020 and by 4.5% in January 2021.

Talking about the Indian pharma market, Panandikar said that the data for fiscal Q3 – covering October through December 2020 – did show some revival over Q2 in major therapies like cardiac, anti-infectives, gastro-intestinal, anti-diabetic, respiratory, dermatology and pain/analgesic.

However, for Indoco, Panandikar said that “contrary to the expectation, a couple of segments did not do well in Q3, for example anti-infectant and respiratory.”

“We will concentrate on difficult-to-do products like ophthalmic suspensions and complex injectables. We are counting on a couple of ophthalmic products for a turnaround.”

After Indoco’s domestic sales took a hit due to the pandemic, the company was counting on the performance of the Indian market for revival. While announcing the firm’s Q2 results, Indoco’s joint managing director, Sundeep Banbolkar had said that the “Indian pharma market for the first time has bounced back after months of COVID-19 crisis and registered a growth of 4.5% in September 2020, giving a positive growth for Q2.”

However, despite reporting consistent quarter-on-quarter growth, Indoco failed to see the expected revival in its domestic business in Q3.

“The recovery in the growth of the Indian pharma market is relatively slower,” said a recent statement released by AIOCD’s AWACS. “While the majority of the therapy areas have moved to the recovery path, a few therapy areas that contribute a significant chunk to the Indian pharma market are yet to show a positive traction.”

AIOCD’s AWACS recently noted that “the COVID crisis has impacted the Indian pharma market and trend of growth in January 2021 with growth of 4.5% has decreased to 1.1% in February 2021.” Meanwhile, “the running quarter growth of December-January-February 2021 is 4.7%”

Talking about the performance of Indoco’s products, Panandikar said that during the nine-month period ended 31 December 2020, the company launched five new products, including Fevindo (favipiravir) 400mg and 800mg tablets, for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19.

“Most of the launches were to either prevent or cure COVID-19 and these products will do well even in future,” stated Panandikar. While some of Indoco’s products fared better than the market in Q3, Cyclopam (paracetamol), one of the company’s key products that got impacted during lockdown, “is showing good trends of recovery now.”

Indoco said that going ahead its generic pipeline would consist of “niche segments” like injectables and ophthalmics. “We will concentrate on difficult-to-do products like ophthalmic suspensions and complex injectables. We are counting on a couple of ophthalmic products for a turnaround,” said Panandikar.

Talking about the company’s expected performance in the coming quarters, Panandikar said, “We are slowly moving to pre-COVID-19 days, as the sales and marketing staff has started travelling.” She continued, “senior doctors have also started seeing patients and are entertaining field staff. Promotion activities are gathering pace and there is improved traction and footfall across all the channels.”

While the company’s ophthalmic, dental and some of the other sub-chronic spaces like gynecology are “improving quite well,” Indoco acknowledged that its acute therapies would “lag behind a bit to reach pre-COVID levels.”

Turning to the firm’s export markets, Panandikar said “our International business is on track and the growth is sustainable, as we have a good order book position.” Indoco’s recent growth in the US was mainly because the company dispatched four products to the US for launch by partners, including the three injectables phenylephrine, palonosetron and zoledronic acid, as well as the solid-dosage febuxostat tablet. Indoco said that it had received repeat orders and encouraging forecasts.

According to Panandikar, Indoco’s outlook for the year 2021-22 remained “highly positive.” The company said that it would aim for “steady growth in [our] domestic market” while “continuing the current trend for international market.”

“We will not target new markets in the next year, but territorial expansion in the International business is on the anvil,” revealed Panandikar. “Though we expect some of the costs like travelling and sales promotion to go up as compared to 2020-2021, the bottom line will not be dented, as domestic sales is expected to revive,” she added.

By Akriti Seth