Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rise and rise of generic medicines

In the above foto (July 2016), one can see, Sri Balaji Generic Medical Stores, which has only generic medicines (branded and unbranded), these are medicine brands that are not promoted to doctors, in India.  Customers walk in and show the Rx and ask for cheapest equivalent medicine from a “standard” company (eg., Cipla) or the pharmacist will 'push' equivalents from companies popular in the generic market like Leeford (this Ludhiana based company specializes only in generic products – and has some 500 SKUs).  Almost all noted Indian companies have generics (branded and unbranded) medicines, which are not promoted to doctors.  These companies have separate branded medicines available at a higher price and these are promoted to doctors. Such companies include Cipla, Lupin, Alkem, German Remedies (Zydus), Cadila, Ranbaxy etc.  As per the pharmacist at the above generic store: such private exclusive generic medicines shops are about 50 in number in Hyderabad-Secunderabad.  He also said, in about 6 months Telangana govt., will open about 50 'Jan Aushadi stores' (Govt. fair price medical stores) - these are central-state govt. stores, which will sell unbranded generics.  Probably in two years time, generic shops (containing unbranded generics and branded generics not promoted to doctors) will be common place in India, and will change the nature or landscape of the medicine market significantly.

Overall there will be following type of products:

a)  Branded generics promoted to doctors (eg., the routine products that pharma marketers promote)
b)      Branded generics (containing similar active ingredient) not promoted to doctors and available in pharmacies – including generic medicine stores
c)      Unbranded generics (contaning similar active ingredient) not promoted to doctors available in pharmacies – including generic medicines stores

The difference in MRP is significant …


Generic Paracetamol 650 mg (like Dolo 650) was sold at just Rs. 1.00 per tablet (Cipla).
Cadila Human insulin MRP is Rs. 148.50 and sold at Rs. 100
Thyroxin 50 mg MRP is Rs. 116.50 and sold at Rs. 60
Cipcal MRP is Rs. 69.50 and was sold at Rs. 10.00 (just 67 paise per tablet)
Fixime O (antibiotic combination Cefixime and Ofloxacin) MRP is Rs. 151 and sold at Rs. 75/-
Augmed (amoxicillin + clavulanic acid) 675 MRP is Rs. 156.10 and sold at Rs. 60 (just Rs. 10 per tablet)
Azax (azithromycin 500 mg) MRP is Rs. 71.19 per three tablets and sold at just Rs. 38.01 or Rs. 12.67 per tablet

Most of above 'generic products' are from CIPLA (a standard company)

Sri Balaji Generic Medicines shop is also distributing pamphlets -


a)   There is huge volume business going on in this space across India (AIOCD AWACS market agency says: said this space is not measured by any of the market agencies and the size is any body’s guess…it could be Rs. 50000 crores per annum)
b)      This generic market will stunt the growth of ‘branded generics promoted to doctors’, since patients will demand generic equivalents from standard companies from generic stores or dispensing doctors or from other pharmacies who have already started stocking such generics (that are not promoted to doctors)  
c)    Dispensing doctors have also started purchasing ‘such generics’ or certain doctors are stocking such products in attached pharmacies with whom they have understandings (eg., nursing home pharmacies) - thus such doctors want medicines at "net rate" - a low rate with high printed MRP
d)     We can’t wish away the growing generic market and this is a threat to branded generics promoted to doctors for prescriptions
e)      In about two years to come (as per the chemists I discussed this issue in Hyderabad field work), each pharmacy will have three categories of products: branded or unbranded generics not promoted to doctors, branded generics promoted to doctors and another section containing nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals (which cannot have generic equivalents).  Thus, we can expect three sets of items in pharmacies.  Some of the 'doctor  promoted generics' that will thrive will be those that cannot have easy copycats
f)       Products like Pure soap (Meditek) and Glowdent toothpaste (with bioenzymes - also available on etc) (Group Pharma) will have good traction since there cannot be any generic equivalents…hence it will be useful for companies to launch products that cannot be duplicated easily. 

We met an elderly retiree patient, at the above generic store, Mr. Janardhan Rao - who said he is saving Rs. 2000/- per month (earlier his monthly family medicine purchases was Rs. 5000/-, now it is Rs. 3000/-) thanks to these generics stores…

At Indore too, Arogya chain of medical stores offers generic medicines at deep discounts...the generic trend is on!

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