The US-based global CEO of Lupin, Vinita Gupta, tells P.B. Jayakumar about the crises Indian drug companies are facing in the US.
Q. How will shrinking margins and wholesaler consolidation in the US affect Indian drug companies?
There has been considerable pressure on pricing and margins in US generics. Anticipating this, nearly four-five years ago, we started investing in complex generics i.e., areas of higher entry barriers like inhalation devices, bio-similars and depot injectables along with our pipeline of first-to-file products. Sustainable growth going forward will be from high-barrier complex generics. Indian pharma companies will play a strong role in the US generics market. Today, over 30 per cent of US generic prescriptions dispensed are from products supplied by India. Indian pharma companies have a significant portion of the pipeline of ANDA (abbreviated new drug application) pending at the FDA. With continued pressure on pricing, Indian companies with their vertical integration and cost advantage stand a better chance to sustain/grow market share.
Q. What is the biggest industry-level management challenge you are facing now?
Globally, the generics market is under pressure; pricing pressure is a reality across all major markets. The transition to complex generics/specialty drugs across major markets is essential. We have to invest ahead of the curve, deliver an increasingly complex pipeline, while growing our business. We are confident that the industry will thrive and get stronger to meet the need for affordable, quality medicines.
Q. How do you plan to meet your targets, given the market pressure in India and the US?
The market pressure has certainly challenged our 2018 targets. With a strong focus on complex generics/ specialty drugs in the US, expanding our reach and product offering in India, and continued growth across other regions, we are confident of meeting our targets.