The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sales rush for desi Viagra

Mumbai, Sept. 11: Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and the Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila Healthcare Ltd are locked in a neck-and-neck race for the top slot in the country’s sildenafil citrate (anti-impotency drug) sweepstakes.

While Caverta and Penegra, the respective brands of both these companies, have been in the thick of action right from their introduction early last year with one beating the other on alternate occasions, recent figures indicate only a slender lead for Ranbaxy Labs.

Industry circles note that products of Indian pharma companies who ventured into this segment last year (after the success of Pfizer’s Viagra) had initially generated huge interest due to the curiosity factor. Though this interest later waned marginally, it has now translated into genuine sales. “The scenario now therefore is much better as the demand that we are currently witnessing is authentic,” said a senior official from a domestic pharma major.

Currently, close to 13 Indian companies sell desi versions of Viagra at prices ranging between Rs 48-108. Of these, six including Ranbaxy, Cipla, Cadila Pharma, Torrent Pharma, Sun Pharma and Zydus Cadila account for a major share.

As per ORG-Marg MAT figures for August 2001-July 2002, sales of sildenafil citrate in the country rose as much as 141 per cent to Rs 36.31 crore. In this, combined sales of the five stood at close to Rs 29.56 crore. Sources however, noted that a lot should not be read in the triple digit percentage rise in sales of the drug, owing to its small base.

Among these top six, market share of Ranbaxy is put at 24.4 per cent, Zydus Cadila is marginally behind with a share of 24.2 per cent. This is followed by Cipla (Silagra), Torrent Pharma (Androz) and Sun Pharma (Edegra). Figures for the period also indicate Ranbaxy and Cipla being the sole players whose market shares have climbed.

However, when contacted, Zydus Cadila officials preferred not to comment on the loss to Ranbaxy, even as they pointed out the ups and downs that are by now a regular feature among the top two. Since its launch, Zydus has been attempting to build a top-of-the-mind recall for its product among customers. In the past few months it has also been focussing on promotional campaigns with psychiatrists, neurologists and endocrinologists apart from a patient education awareness programme.

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