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Cardiovascular market: A snapshot

Aug 4, 2001

How often have you heard a person complaining about diabetes? Quite often, right? With increasing level of urbanization, stress index levels have moved in tandem. Diabetes, heart diseases and other life style problems are on the rise. No wonder cardiovascular market is the largest and fastest growing therapeutic segment in the global pharmaceutical market. The global cardiovascular market is estimated to be US$ 46 bn, which is around 10% of the world pharma market and is clocking double-digit growth rates. A patient once afflicted with cardiac problem usually carries the problem through his lifetime and brand switching is lowest in this segment. Cardiovascular segments thus attract larger pie of R&D budget of pharma companies worldwide and new drugs are continually rolled out on a regular basis.

India has the fastest growing diabetes patients, thanks to rapid expansion of urbanization. Statistics rolled out by World Health Organisation predicts in about two decades the number of diabetes patients would leap frog to about 57 m from the current 27 m patients.

The domestic market for cardiovascular segment is estimated to be Rs 9.3 bn, which means a market share of around 7%. The cardiovascular market in India has grown at compounded average rate of 28% in last one decade and has outsmarted all other therapeutic markets.

Cardiovascular Market: Segment wise break-up
Sub-Segment Market Size
(Rs m)
Growth
Rate (%)
Beta Blockers 1,318 23.5
ACE Inhibitors 1,259 13.9
Calcium Channel Blockers 2,026 14.4
Hypotensives 945 32.9
Diuretics 335 36.6
Others 823 14.6

Anti-anginals and Hypotensives are broad sub-segments within the cardiovascular category. Anti-anginals are drugs used to remove blockage in arteries ultimately controlling chest pain. Anti-hypertensives are used to control high blood pressures. Diuretics are used to reduce excess level of sodium salt in the body. Usually, patients are required to use multiple drug/medicines for cardiac therapy and thus pharma companies use various combinations of molecules.

The leading players in cardiovascular therapy are mostly domestic companies like Sun Pharma, Torrent, Cadila and ICI Pharma. Share of MNCs is relatively low and their portfolio consists of relatively older molecules.

Apart from the fact that the segment is provides fast growth rates, the margins in the segment are higher due to very limited DPCO exposure. All this is attracting companies to concentrate on this therapeutic segment. Moreover, considering the lifestyle nature of problems, affordability issue is not a major concern in this segment.

Exports of cardiovascular formulations till date have been relatively marginal in the cardiovascular segment. The silver lining is that generic export market for cardiovascular products might open up for Indian companies in a big way in coming years, as some of the prominent molecules in the segment go off patent. However, to sustain export growth in the long-term companies will have race up their research capabilities.

Considering the lucrative market, the segment has higher chances of MNC’s aggressively launching blockbuster products in India post 2005 (when patent protection would be a reality). So brand positioning and basic research will be the key to success and survival for domestic companies. Domestic companies will have to undertake basic research by choice and compulsion to compete against their international counterparts. Otherwise they better have their ‘pulse’ checked at an earlier date.

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