Will Dr Reddy’s Lab, Hetero, Aurobindo get Viagra boost?
With the patent for Viagra, the popular drug of global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer ending in 2020, three citybased drug majors including Dr Reddys Laboratories, are reportedly in race to develop cheaper generic versions which are likely to help them corner decent market share in the US, a lucrative market for the drug which is widely used for treating impotence in men
Hyderabad: With the patent for Viagra, the popular drug of global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer ending in 2020, three city-based drug majors including Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, are reportedly in race to develop cheaper generic versions which are likely to help them corner decent market share in the US, a lucrative market for the drug which is widely used for treating impotence in men.
Launched nearly two decades ago in the US market, Viagra is now one of the most popular drugs worldwide. According to a report in The Print, an online news portal, the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) had granted approval to 15 companies globally to produce sildenafil citrate, the formulation of Viagra drug, post the expiry of Pfizer’s patent. Among them, there are seven Indian companies including Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Ajanta Pharma. Apart from Dr Reddy’s, two other Hyderabad companies that received the approval are Hetero Drugs and Aurobindo Pharma Limited.
When contacted, a spokesperson for Hetero Drug refused to comment. “As a policy, we don’t disclose our future plans as we are a privately-held company,” the spokesperson told The Hans India. Dr Reddy’s and Aurobindo could not be reached for comment.
For Indian drug makers which churn out generic drugs at dirt cheap, the US is the biggest market. For instance, Dr Reddy’s reported Rs 1,590 crore revenues from North American market out of its total revenues of Rs 3,721 crore in first quarter of the current fiscal. It’s similar for other drug makers in the country.
Given the importance of the US market, it’s likely that post 2020, Indian companies will flood the US market with cheaper Viagras, bringing down its price by over 90 per cent. Currently, Viagra, which cures erectile dysfunction, is priced at $65 (Rs 4,460) a piece in the US. In India, Ajanta Pharma sells a desi version of Viagra branded as Kamagra at Rs 32 per tablet. This goes to indicate the kind of price war that generic Viagras from India will generate in the US market.
According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global erectile dysfunction drugs market was pegged at $4.35 billion in 2016. Geographically, North America was the leading segment in 2015 and is poised to reach $1.81 bn by 2019. For Pfizer, global sales from Viagra reached $1.708 billion in 2015 before falling to $1.2 billion last year. However, its sales could take a beating after the entry of Indian companies into the US market.