Glenmark gives India the push by topping its anti-diabetes drug

Glenmark gives India the push by topping its anti-diabetes drug

Whatever Glenmark wanted to prove by introducing Zitamed and ZIta, their new anti-diabetes drugs, they’ve definitely topped this season.

Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals introduced the two anti-diabetes drugs in aRs 3,000-crore lucrative anti-diabetes market dominated by multinationals The drugmaker, which is locked in a bitter patent infringement battle with US drug firm Merck Sharp and Dohme's (MSD) over these drugs, has managed to rake in Rs 16 crore in just eight months since it launched them, according to data available with All India Organisation of Chemists and Association (AIOCD).

In a sort of kickback, Glenmark has priced these drugs at a third of the price of its competitors. Win? We definitely think so. This move may not only rattle the existing market, but also multinational pharma firms who’ve enjoyed majority of market share over the years.

Zita and Zitamet are the generic versions of Sitagliptin, a class of drugs known to fight the insulin levels better than the old-class of diabetes drugs.

The gliptin category, considered to be the future of anti-diabetic therapy, has a market share of Rs 800 crore in India and is growing at over 20% annually.

Last year, MSD sued Glenmark for patent infringement of two of its blockbuster drugs — Januvia and Janumet — which have global sales worth $5.7 billion, or Rs 35,340 crore.

Launched in 2008, both these drugs have patent protection for 20 years in India. MSD, in its petition to the Delhi High Court, has asked for a ban on the sale of Glenmark's brand of gliptin drugs, Zitamed and Zita. Glenmark, on its part, has also challenged the patent on Januvia and Janumet under Section 3d of the Indian Patent Act. The verdict is still awaited on the issue.

Though MSD still rules the gliptin market, its sales have dropped sharply by 18% to Rs 180 crore in 2012-13. However, this was compensated by the high growth posted by Sun Pharma, one of the JV partners of the company for marketing these drugs. The other companies that have dominated this segment this year are Novartis (Rs 198 crore), USV Pharma (Rs 118 crore) and Sun Pharma (Rs 102 crore).

Both Glenmark and MSD refused to comment. Glenmark in the past couple of years has increased its focus in the chronic therapy, a segment which is posting double digit growth in the Rs70,000-crore Indian pharma market. "Though Glenmark might not feature in the top ten Indian pharma companies, its past launches in the cardiovascular segment have been pretty aggressive.

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