Six out of top 10 brands of paracetamol in India — Calpol, Sumo L, P-250, Crocin, Tamin and Fepanil — have registered a fall in annual sales growth in value terms in 2017-18. However, their annual sales in unit terms have comparatively increased in the same period, indicating a price reduction across brands.
P-250 and Fepanil are manufactured by smaller firms Apex Laboratories and Veritaz Healthcare, respectively. Remaining four are manufactured by major players: Calpol and Crocin by GlaxoSmithKline; Tamin by Baxter India and Sumo L by Alkem Laboratories.
GlaxoSmithKline’s Calpol has a share of around 25 per cent of the Indian paracetamol market. Its annual sales in value terms fell by 2.63 per cent to Rs 225.34 crore in 2017-18. However, sales in unit terms grew by 11.61 per cent to 1.35 lakh units. The GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson told The Indian Express: “The value decrease is a function of price reduction. While units grew well, there has been a sales value decrease.”
Overall, while paracetamol remains one of the top selling generic molecules in India, its annual sales growth in value terms has decreased to 4.31 per cent in 2017-18 from 15.32 per cent in 2016-17. However, annual sales growth in terms of units was at 9.15 per cent in 2017, which is just a marginal decline from 10.81 per cent in 2016-17. This analysis is according to the data of IQVIA, a global healthcare provider.
Over 200 paracetamol brands are sold in India. In 2017-18, 4.77 lakh tablets worth Rs 1,008 crore were sold in India, according to the data. “The unit sales have seen a consistent growth. The value sales have taken a hit in many brands,” a senior official of a top pharma firm said.
A senior executive of an Ahmedabad-based pharma company added: “NPPA marginally decreased the ceiling prices of paracetamol in June last year due to implementation of goods and services tax (GST). This is one of the reasons behind price decrease.”
Apex Laboratories, the maker of India’s No. 3 brand P-250 did not respond to a query sent by The Indian Express.
The spokesperson of Alkem Laboratories, maker of Sumo-L, said: “As a policy, we do not give out molecule level or brand level information. However, while I have not seen the data, growth is always a function of volume growth and price increase. So, logically if volume growth is high but still if the overall growth is low, then it implies decrease in pricing.”
Veritaz Healthcare, producer of India’s No. 5 brand Fepanil, also did not respond to the queries mailed by The Indian Express.
The Indian pharma industry earns the majority of its revenue by selling branded generics. Generic drugs are cheaper than branded generic drugs. Generic drugs are sold by their salt name, while branded generic drugs are sold by a company under a particular brand label. For example, as Paracetamol is the salt name, the generic drug is sold under the label “Paracetamol”. However, the branded generic versions are sold in India by companies under their respective brand labels such as Calpol, Dolo and Sumo.
The spokesperson of GlaxoSmithKline said: “While, units are growing as per our strategy, we will continue to focus on developing the understanding and treatment of fever amongst HCPs (healthcare providers).”
When asked about Paracetamol’s scope of growth in the Indian market, the spokesperson said: “Fever is not an exceptionally different category in comparison to most other diseases. We believe that it will have a similar growth at par with the Indian pharma market.”