Online pharmacies see record funding in 2019, investments double to $321 mn

Source: Business Standard, Jan 19, 2019

Chennai: Online Pharmacy segment has seen the private equity and venture capital investments double in 2019. $321 million was invested in four deals as compared to $140 million in 10 deals during the previous year. The industry experts are expecting more activity in the segment, especially if a delayed regulatory framework takes place during the current year.

According to data from research firm Venture Intelligence, the investments into the sector has grown from $39 million in four deals in 2015, to an all-time high investment of $321 million last year. The highest number of deals happened in 2018 and various litigations – alleging that the existing regulations does not allow selling medicines online – started by the end of 2018, which has pushed the segment into uncertainties.

However, during 2019, the investors backed some of the major online healthcare and pharmacy retailers and the deal list is led by PharmEasy, which has seen fund-raising through the year to bring in around $220 million and the round is yet to be concluded, according to Venture Intelligence data. 1MG, HealthKart and a subscription based medicine delivery start-up Digi-Prex raised funds during the year.

“There is a lot of interest from potential investors for this space. Being a category with very good frequency, it has a lot of potential to capture and create offerings for the entire patient lifecycle. We saw all the four online pharmacies raising funds and each contributed in growing the entire sector,” said Dharmil Sheth, co founder of PharmEasy.

The factors that make online pharmaceutical space interesting to the investors include that Indian OPD healthcare is a $50 billion industry with inefficient channels for patients and other stakeholders. Factors like large market size, gross margins, current inefficiencies in the ecosystem leading to a huge opportunity for digital platform to disrupt and offer a seamless ecosystem, he added.

Industry experts said that the sector is expected to continue seeing investments as the digital ecosystem is growing in the country. More start ups should come into the sector as it needs more innovations and fill in the gaps in the existing healthcare system. Apollo Hospitals Group, after hiving off its front end of pharmacy business to another entity, is also looking at this space. The company management, in the earnings call with the investors for the quarter ended September, 2019, has said that the company is working on the segment, along with a consultant, though it is going slow. Sources said that it may take decisions related to entry into the segment during the year.

Domestic pharma market bounces back to growth phase in November

Source: Business Standard, Dec 09, 2019

After seeing 5.1 per cent growth in October, the domestic pharma market has bounced back in November. The Indian pharma market (IPM) registered a 14.5 per cent year-on-year growth in November, one of the best growths seen in more than 32 months.

Data from market research firm AIOCD AWACS showed that in November last year, the IPM had clocked a 7 per cent growth. In terms of moving annual turnover (MAT), which considers the past 12 months’ turnover, the MAT November growth is at 9.8 per cent. Acute therapies, which accounts for 47 per cent of the IPM, has exhibited growth of 8.9 per cent, while Chronic therapies which accounts for 33 per cent of the IPM has exhibited growth of 11.7 per cent.

On MAT November 2019, anti-infective market being the largest market exhibits growth of 8.6 per cent, cardiac market 12.2 per cent, anti-diabetic market 13.6 per cent, gastrointestinal 8.9 per cent, vitamins and minerals 8.9 per cent, and pain and analgesics at 9.7 per cent. Commenting on the November numbers AIOCD said, “We need to look into the seasonality as well. Last year, the Diwali was in November and had impacted the sale and thus had a low base (growth of 7 per cent). As the Diwali shifted to October in 2019, November had no pressure. Hence, on the lower base of November 2018, November 2019 did well.”It added, “If we look at an average of growths for October 2019 (5.1 per cent) and November 2019 (14.5 per cent), the average of two is 9.8 per cent, which is the MAT growth of IPM (9.8 per cent). So, we are looking at a steady growth phase.”

E-pharmas come to a halt as regulator makes licence must

Source: ETRetail.com, Dec 04, 2019

NEW DELHI: Stopping online sale of medicines, the drug regulator has issued orders prohibiting any such sale without a valid licence.

The order is likely to force e-pharmacies to shut operations as in the absence of any regulation or law for online sales of medicines, neither the Centre nor state authorities can issue license to e-pharmacies.

In an order to states and Union Territories, the Drug Controller General of India has asked authorities to be vigilant of online sales and take immediate action in case of violations. TOI has reviewed the order and the letter sent to state drug controllers. The proposed regulation for online sale of medicines is still under consideration of a group of ministers (GoM) headed by defence minister.

Unless the regulations are finalised and notified by the health ministry, there are no provisions under the drug law for the drug regulator or state authorities to issue licenses allowing e-pharmacies to operate. In its letter to states, the Centre has cited “the order” by the Delhi High Court issued on December 12, 2018, in the matter of Dr Zaheer Ahmed Vs Union of India. The Court had ordered a ban on the sale of drugs online across India, in response to a petition filed by Delhi-based dermatologist Ahmed.

Read the rest of this entry »

China’s new drug law may open door for Indian generic medicines: Report

Source: Financial Express, Aug 28, 2019

China’s revised drug law, which removes drugs that are legal in foreign countries but not approved in China from the category of fake medicines, may allow entry of Indian generic medicines in the country, media reports said on Tuesday. China’s top legislature, the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress, passed the revised law on Monday to enhance management and supervision of the pharmaceutical market following numerous fake drugs and vaccine cases that had triggered a call for stronger measures to ensure drug safety.

India has been demanding that China open its pharmaceutical market to Indian drugs as part of the efforts to lower the USD 57 billion trade deficit in about USD 95.5 billion total trade last year. No major Indian pharma company managed to establish itself in China in view of the rigid regulations and the costs involved. Legal foreign drugs, including generic drugs from India, will not be treated as fake medicine in China based on a revised drug administration law that will take effect on December 1, state-run Global Times reported. Read the rest of this entry »

District-wise data on pharma exports soon

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Aug 20, 2019

Hyderabad: The Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil) is building a database to capture district-wise pharmaceutical exports.

“We have been asked by the Department of Commerce to compile district-wise pharmaceutical exports data,’’ Uday Bhaskar, Diector General, Pharmexcil, told BusinessLine.

As part of the initiative, details of exports of bulk drugs, formulations, Ayush, herbals and surgicals are being collected.

“To start with, we will compile data for the last three financial years,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Pakistan imported medicines worth Rs 136 crore from India in 2019

Source: The Economic Times, Jul 15, 2019

Pakistan imported medicines and vaccines worth (Pakistani) Rs 136,99,87,000 from India in 2019, its Health Ministry has said.

Express News reported that the imported medicines included life-saving drugs, tablets, syrups and vaccines.

According to figures announced by the Pakistan Health Ministry in Senate on Friday, the country imported drugs and vaccines worth (Pakistani) Rs 15,43,17,000 in January; Rs 22,32,47,000 in February; Rs 19,37,37,000 in March; Rs 11,10,42,000 in April; Rs 18,96,47,000 in May and Rs 4,89,12,000 from India. Read the rest of this entry »

Indian pharma industry to grow at 11-13 per cent in FY20

Source: IBEF.org, Jul 08, 2019

As healthy demand from the domestic market, given increasing spend on healthcare along with improving access, the growth of Indian pharmaceutical industry is likely to grow at 11-13 per cent in FY20.

This along with moderation in pricing pressure for US market, new dispatches and market share gains for existing products and union advantages will drive growth in FY20
And, the growth would be compelled by administrative interventions, such as, value controls, mandatory genericisation and United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) oversight for assembling insufficiencies”.

According to an Icra report, covering a sample of 21 firms in the industry, the growth during FY2019 stood at around 12 per cent. Read the rest of this entry »