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Price cap, competition make heart medicines cheaper

business Updated: Jun 02, 2016 06:35 IST
Himani Chandna and Jyotindra Dubey
Himani Chandna and Jyotindra Dubey

NEW DELHI: The prices of drugs for cardiac ailments have come down by up to 54% in the past year, thanks to the government’s price control initiative and intensified competition among drug makers.

“For instance, combination of clopidogrel and aspirin used to prevent heart attacks, was priced above Rs 75 per pack when launched in now costs less than Rs 27,” said Sujesh Vasudevan, president and head of India formulations and Africa region, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.

RC Juneja, chief executive officer, Mankind Pharma, said, “The war among drug makers has intensified in the category.”

Along with competition, the government’s decision to regulate prices led to around 100 cardiac ailment formulations seeing a dip prices.

But that has not deterred companies from expanding their products portfolios. The cardio vascular (CVS) category, which contributes around 16% to the revenue of drug makers, is the largest therapeutic segment in India, with a market size of Rs 12,371 crore.

The segment is growing at 13.3%, which is faster than the overall pharma industry.

“We plan to introduce about three new drugs in cardiac category in next two to three years. The launches planned in India would be unique drugs,” Vasudevan of Glenmark said.

Glenmark, Sun Pharma and Cadila are the top three drug makers in category. In addition to pharma companies, cardiac ailments churn handsome revenues for hospital chains as well.

“Cardiology and cardiac surgeries are top contributors to our revenues, they occupy over 40% with year-on-year growth rate of 20%,” said Zahabiya Khorakiwala, MD, Wockhardt Hospitals.

“On an average 10-12 cases come to our hospital daily,” said Amar Singhal, senior cardiologist, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.

Latest statistics from India’s healthcare industry suggest that there are over 30 million heart patients in the country.