The drugs that the Covid-19 has put forward
COVID-19 has brought to the fore a slew of drugs that weren’t famous before.
Dolo 650 is a brand that you have no doubt heard of. According to Pharmasofttech AWACS, a pharmaceutical market research company, the antipyretic – a drug used to treat fever and body aches – was in high demand in January 2022, with sales of Rs 51.79 crore or around 23.4 million strips. Sales were Rs 18 crore in January 2021, down from Rs 18 crore in January 2021.
According to AWACS, Dolo 650 sold Rs 417 crore (about 189.4 million tapes) in the 12 months from January to December 2021. Today, almost every household is aware of the drug, thanks to the outbreak of Covid-19. Dolo 650, made by Micro Labs, was the most commonly prescribed antipyretic during the third wave of Covid-19. “Each time there has been an outbreak of viral illness, prescriptions and sales of Dolo 650 have increased dramatically.”
According to Jayaraj G., Executive Vice President-Marketing, Micro Labs, “an increase in Dolo 650 sales during Covid-19 was predicted based on previous experiences during outbreaks of Chikungunya, H1N1 (swine flu) and of dengue”. “Dolo 650 has found a place in every medical agency’s Covid treatment plan.”
However, Dolo was not the only medicine to draw from Covid-19. It was one of many multivitamin and antipyretic products that rose to prominence in January 2022, at the height of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and generated good revenue for companies.
While the first wave of Covid-19, which took place in April-May 2021, saw several prescriptions issued depending on the severity of the disease, the third wave saw only one prescription circulating among patients, including a few drugs currents. Besides Dolo, Zincovit, made by Apex Labs in Chennai, has been the most popular multivitamin for Covid-19 patients. And Cipla’s Montair LC has become the most commonly prescribed antihistamine. Drugs like remdesivir and ivermectin have also done well in previous cycles.
Salil Kallianpur, former executive vice president of GSK Pharma, now a pharmaceutical industry analyst and consumer behavior expert, hints at several themes that have occurred throughout the waves of Covid-19. “The first trend was opportunistic brand introductions, in which drugs like Remdesivir, Ivermectin and others exploded in popularity as desperate individuals sought them out in hopes of saving their lives.
Fabiflu (Glenmark Pharmaceuticals’ brand of favipiravir) has been the most visible of these introductions. Glenmark raised about 750 crore in less than a year for medicine without any scientific support for use in Covid patients. This trend was not as noticeable in the first wave, according to Kallianpur, due to the lack of a standard processing procedure and supply chain disruptions.
The second intriguing trend was how well long-established brands (without Covid-19 therapy) helped companies sustain development through these turbulent months. “While brands introduced two to three years before the pandemic either lost demand or experienced slower growth, the more established brands saw increased sales volume.”
Zincovit and Dolo are two notable examples. This confirms my belief that effective marketing has helped these drugs gain the trust of doctors, patients and their families,” adds Kallianpur. In its third-quarter results, Cipla, the producer of Montair LC, said its overall business was up 13% year-over-year (YoY), due to continued strength in the drugs of base and traction of flagship products, as well as a moderate contribution. of its Covid-19 portfolio.
According to the January 2022 Market Insight Report by IQVIA, an American international market and data analysis firm, Azithromycin Oral Solids – which are used to treat bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia and lung diseases which are common during Covid-19 – increased by 250% in January.
Azithral, manufactured by Alembic Pharma, was No. 1 among the top 25 products in January (vs. Dec. 21), with sales of Rs 73 crore and a 27% increase from Dec. 2021, clearly showing that the antibiotic was widely administered during Third wave of Covid-19. Excluding Azithral, Dolo climbed 307% among the top ten brands, while Calpol, another antipyretic, rose 261%.
Regarding the model analysis, Kallianpur notes that when overall inventory levels declined due to distributors’ reluctance to book large orders, they evidently chose to invest their working capital in brands with strong demand and those they were confident would sell out quickly. “Antipyretics like Dolo grew in popularity as word of mouth spread in an environment where individuals sought advice from friends, relatives and local pharmacists.
The brand name’s inclusion of the product in the Covid protocol helped a lot, but the new participatory nature of people in their healthcare gave it a big boost,” he says. Many brands in the wellness category, according to Kallianpur, sold out quickly. “During this period, established pharmaceutical brands such as Zincovit, Becosules and others have grown in popularity.”
“Healthcare professionals have trusted the Becosules brand for many years and advocate the use of several products in the portfolio to provide needed amounts of micronutrients,” says S. Sridhar, Managing Director of Pfizer Limited, which manufactures Becosules. “The outbreak has highlighted the need to maintain good health and boost immunity.” “We have seen an upsurge in the use of Becosules at this time, as the vitamin B complex and vitamin C are essential for the proper functioning of the body,” says Sridhar.
In the first half of 2021, when the second wave of the pandemic wreaked havoc on both patients and the medical community, the situation was dramatically different.
Thanks to Covid-19 related products like Remdesivir, the pharmaceutical business saw a decent development during the period, and vitamins and minerals gained momentum as additional items. Due to the adoption of appropriate Covid-19 behavior, pharmaceutical specialists believe that it has resulted in significantly better hygiene habits. The non-Covid-19 acute treatment industry was affected, but as the second wave subsided, individuals began to emerge from their homes and were exposed to weather and seasonal changes.
The initial wave of the pandemic, on the other hand, was comparable to the third wave in terms of pharmaceutical sales patterns since no one understood how to treat Covid-19.
“Because the medical community has been unable to identify the reason, they have rightly sought to treat the symptoms as best they can.” Meanwhile, sales of common drugs, including fever-reducing pills and supplements to treat high fevers and boost immunity, have increased exponentially. Remdesivir, Lopinavir-Ritonavir, Favipiravir and other anti-Covid-19 drugs have become the central line of treatment for critically ill patients,” says Raheel Shah, director of BDR Pharmaceuticals, one of the makers of the anti-Covid drug. -19 Molnupiravir.
“In more severe cases, more potent drugs like tocilizumab have been used to treat patients, with favorable results.” Drug sales have increased dramatically over the past two years, particularly in critical care, over-the-counter vitamins and antibiotics.
Post-Covid, the trend continued as clinics became more functional and sales of injectable dermal and oncology drugs also began to increase,” Shah notes.
Will the current survive?
In the second wave, the Covid-19 epidemic presented opportunities for several pharmaceuticals that were previously difficult to obtain, such as Remdesvir and certain brands of steroids, and in the third wave, Dolo, Zincovit and other drugs . As the outbreak has subsided, popularity and demand seem to be declining.
“Pandemics will never make a company rich, because pandemics come and go, so there may only be potential for a few companies,” says Satyanarayana Chava, Founder and CEO of Laurus Labs, using the popularity of the Dolo 650 and paracetamol as an example.
According to Jayaraj, a similar trend will also emerge in future pandemics. “Drugs like paracetamol, azithromycin, favipiravir, doxycycline, corticosteroids and immune stimulants have been recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for the treatment of Covid, and leading brands in these segments gained enormously,” he says, noting that Dolo 650, the market leader in paracetamol, has received many prescriptions and has grown in popularity.
True, but now we come back to the question of whether the momentum can be sustained. And the answer seems to be a resounding “no”. Dolo 650, Azithral and Calpol, whose sales jumped in January due to the third wave of Covid-19, dropped out of the top 25 brands in February, according to IQVIA data.
Instead, Mixtard, a diabetes management drug from Novo Nordisk, a Danish multinational pharmaceutical company, was the top-selling drug brand in February. So the Covid-19 opportunity for non-Covid-19 drugs seems to have eluded us, and is unlikely to return until another wave occurs – and that’s something no one does not want.