Natco Pharma has priced Natflu -its version of H1N1 swineflu drug oseltmivir – meant for government supply at Rs 275 per dose, triggering a possible selling price battle among the Indian companies who make Tamiflu generics.
The swine flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) has been allowed to sell through retail drug stores in India only recently. Till last week, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) has been supplied only through public health ditribution oulets in India.
However, India lifted the oseltamivir sales ban through retail drugs stores to facilitate accessibility of the drug in view of increasing incidence of H1N1 infection in the country and inadequacy of the public health distribution system to handle the rising demand.
Natco Pharma, which joined the bandwagon of generic oseltmavir (Tamiflu) suppliers in India very recently, launched its Natflu at a price of Rs 480 for ten tablet.
The health ministry, which is planning to expand its oseltamivir (Tamiflu) drug stockpile upto 30 million doses in the coming days fearing apossible scon wave of swine flu infection in the country, has been procuring the drug at around Rs 300 from Tamiflu makers like Cipla, Hetero Drugs, Strides, Ranbaxy etc.
Natco Pharma said it could supply Natflu pills to the goverment at around Rs 275 per 10 tablets because the supplies meant for government does not include taxes and distributor’s margin.
Natco’s low quoting price for government quotation to purchase oseltamivir has fuelled a pricing confusion among its rival companies who have quoted figures that come somewhere around the government’s purchasing price.
Natco Pharma has already supplied 125,000 doses of Natflu to retail drug stores. Natco plans to release over 1 million more doses (10 million tablets) of Natflu, in the Indian market, by the end of October.
Natco also plans to launch Natflu for kids as well. Natco could launch paediatric doses of Natflu in syrup form in 45 days, Natco officials are quoted as saying.
Currently, the company is supplying only Natflu tablets at 75 mg strength, which is basically an adult dosage.
There’s a shortage of the children’s version of Tamiflu — the first-line treatment for swine flu and seasonal flu, worlover since swine oseltamivir makers have been focusing production on adult-strength pills.
Oseltamivir adult dosage is a 75-milligram pill twice a day. Children’s dosages are based on their body weight. kids are usually given either smaller pills or the medicine in a sweetened liquid.
Based in Hyderabad, southern India, Natco Pharma Limited is one of the fast growing pharmaceutical companies from India. Natco has introduced several first time generic drugs in India. Natco currently ranks as number 1 in terms of revenues from among the Indian companies in the oncological segment. Natco has US FDA approved manufacturing facilities both for APIs as well as finished dosage pharmaceutical formulations.
Natco recorded a jump in its revenues and profits for the year ended on 31st March, 2009. Natco registered an increase of 28% in its consolidated revenues, which have gone up to Rs. 465 crore from Rs. 364 crore.
Natco’s profit after tax, has also gone up to Rs. 4398 lakhs from Rs. 4052 lakhs, recording an increase of 8%. The growth in profits has been lower on account of expenses on Phase I clinical trials of the new chemical entity being developed by the company.
Natco is in the final stages of Phase I clinical trials for its new chemical entity with multiple oncological indications and intends to undertake phase II trials shortly.
Natco’s oncology business recorded a 23% jump in earnings (from Rs. 79 Crores to Rs. 97 Crores) as compared to last year. Natco has made significant inroads in its efforts to introduce its products in European and US markets and this has been reflected in its formulations exports, which have grown (from Rs. 14 Crores to Rs. 31 Crores) by nearly 114% over last year.