The anti-infective drugs or medicines to treat infectious disease saw unprecedented growth rates in July and August, led by a spurt of monsoon- related diseases, as wet season continued in July and August across most parts of India.
Anti-infective drugs grew at 15.3 percent YoY in August, compared to the Indian pharmaceutical market growth of 9.4 percent. In July too, the segment grew 16.1 percent against industry growth of 13.2 percent, as per data from AIOCD.
While this isn't good news for public health, pharmaceutical companies with strong anti-infective portfolios like Alkem Laboratories, GSK, Mankind, Aristo Pharma are reaping benefits, growing well above the rest.
The medications that are prescribed with anti-infectives, such as analgesics/pain and respiratory too saw growth rates of 11.1 percent and 13 percent respectively in August.
Anti-infectives, analgesics and respiratory form the acute segment.
“The average growth of anti-infective segment has been traditionally at 4-5 percent, this year we are seeing much better growth compared to previous years,” said an executive of Alkem Laboratories who didn’t want to be named.
Alkem Laboratories, with 85 percent of domestic formulation sales coming from the acute segment, grew 20.8 percent in August.
GSK, on the other hand, grew at 18.6 percent. More than two-thirds of GSK sales come from the acute segment
GSK's Augmentin and Alkem's Clavam registered growth rates of more than 15 percent. Augmentin and Clavam are different brands with same antibiotic combination drug Amoxycillin plus Clavunic Acid, ranked among top-10 of India’s top-selling brands.
GSK’s paracetamol brand Calpol too is seeing a good pickup in sales.
“Seasonal factor in addition to our targeted approach is helping us beat industry growth,” said a spokesperson of GSK.
Alkem's growth was also led by its pantoprazole brands Pan and Pan D. Pantoprazole belongs to a class of proton pump inhibitors used to treat acidity.
Aristo Pharma that markets antibiotic Ceftriaxone under brand Monocef, also saw its sales growing 26.9 percent in August. This was the third consecutive month of more than 25 percent growth for Aristo.
The acute segment that constitutes more than half of Mankind sales, grew above 15 percent in the last two months.
Industry sources told Moneycontrol that the anti-infective segment is expected to outgrow industry in the second quarter FY20, as the Monsoon season is extending.
Nearly half the country received excess rainfall in August, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), while the remaining 23 percent had normal rainfall. In many regions particularly Western, Southern Central and Northern India, there were floods, that increased the risk of people acquiring infectious diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, malaria, cholera, viral fevers, typhoid, diarrhoea and common flu.