Coronavirus changes medication needs of masses

Coronavirus changes medication needs of masses
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Highlights

Cipla, Glenmark outperform pharma mkt due to strong respiratory demand

The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought about a sudden change in the medication needs of masses with a clear preference being shown for respiratory, anti-diabetic, cardiac therapies as compared to anti-infective, gastro, vitamin or pain therapies that had commanded higher demand in pre-Covid period.

In the month of March, demand for cardiac drugs grew by 18.8 per cent year-on-year and anti-diabetic segment grew at 14.4 per cent y-o-y due to pre-empted buying ahead of the lockdown.

Similarly, the respiratory segment (26 per cent y-o-y) saw higher demand due to Covid-19 as the virus is known to impact this critical function of the human body.

Segments like derma/gynaec/vitamins, where the demand for drugs has always remained ahead of others declined year-on-year in March, clearly bringing out the shift in drug use by Indians, especially during the time of lockdown.

According to an Emkay research report, the changing preference of drugs by people has also had an impact on the Indian pharmaceutical industry with companies having stronger drug brands dealing with respiratory, cardiac and anti-diabetic therapies registering growth higher than the industry average.

Accordingly, while Carols Healthcare, Dr Reddy's Labs, Alkem having higher drug concentration in acute exposure category underperformed the Indian pharmaceutical market (IPM), Sun Pharma, Torrent Pharma, Lupin outperformed the market due to their high chronic portfolio.

Cipla, Glenmark outperformed due to strong respiratory demand, while IPCA benefitted from high hydroxychloroquine sales, which has been touted as wonder drug having potential to positively impact severe Covid-19 patients.

The brokerage report said that the Indian pharmaceutical market (IPM) growth slowed down to 5.4 per cent y-o-y in March 2020 as companies with acute-heavy portfolios reported weak growth on account of the countrywide lockdown.

Volume growth was flat at 0.6 per cent yoy. On Moving average total basis, IPM growth stands at 10.8 per cent yoy, led by price hikes of 5.1 per cent.

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