India's second largest drug company Lupin Ltd has also entered the growing Over the Counter (OTC) market in the country.
The Rs 17,119 crore revenue Lupin forayed into the OTC segment by launching a new division - Lupin Life Consumer Healthcare. It has launched Softovac, a 34 year old legacy brand in the treatment of constipation and irregular bowel habits, as an OTC product. The product's shift from prescription to OTC was piloted in West Bengal where the brand witnessed an over 25 percent growth in sales and a pan-India roll-out was initiated with actor Anil Kapoor as the brand ambassador.
Anil Kaushal, Head, Consumer Healthcare Business, said the company was planning to create a large product basket of legacy brands and high selling OTC products. "We are looking at a turnover of around Rs 300 crore in a couple of years and the growth will include acquisitions", he said.
Pegged at over Rs 18,862 crore by a Nicholas Hall 2017 report, the Indian OTC market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 percent to cross Rs 44,115 crore.
While effects of GST and demonetisation were hampering the growth of domestic drug sales, OTC drugs still remains an attractive segment for leading Indian drug companies like Sun Pharma, Cipla, Piramal Healthcare, etc. Ahmedabad based Torrent was the latest entrant into this field with the Rs 3600 crore acquisition of Mumbai based Unichem Labs' India business, which included Unienzyme, a major OTC brand.
A month ago, Nandini Piramal-led Consumer Products Division of the Piramal Enterprises, had acquired a gastro-intestinal product Digeplex and associated brands from Shreya Lifesciences to strengthen its OTC basket. Piramal's Consumer business, which acquired four OTC brands from Pfizer last year, now has revenues in excess of Rs 375 crore.
Earlier the OTC market was dominated by FMCG companies like Dabur, Unilever, Henkel, Reckitt Benckiser and the like. In the last few years, drug companies like Cipla, Dr Reddys, Lupin, Sun Pharma have created separate divisions for OTC drug sales. Zydus Cadila has a separate company in Zydus Wellness to tap this opportunity. Mankind sells near ten per cent of its Rs 4000 crore business as OTC products like contraceptive brand Manforce. In 2010, consumer and healthcare company Reckitt Benckiser had paid $742 million to acquire Paras Pharma, a company with a large portfolio of OTC healthcare brands.