Chennai : The government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions like social distancing, use of mask and sanitizers and stay-at-home system have impacted largely on the production and sale of a range of pharmaceutical products in the paediatric and geriatric segments.
Paediatric and geriatric are the two major areas in the healthcare field that affected badly by the Covid pandemic and the lockdown.
While a big sales-fall has registered in the most commonly prescribed medications for children, compliance to restrictions has reduced many a disease among infants, children and adolescents, market analysts in pharma sector say.
Similarly, though there is improvement in ailments among old people who are restricted to stay at home, the market sees a drop in the sales of drugs for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes and respiratory infections among the geriatrics. This phenomenon happened in the last one year following announcement of lockdown after coronavirus outbreak.
According to A Prabhakar, director – sales and marketing, at Lab Indus, a drug maker based in Palakkadu in Kerala and focusing on pediatric segment of products, the company has witnessed 80% drop in sales in the last 12 months. Majorly, Lab Indus concentrates on three types of syrups to treat children’s disease such as fever, anti-allergic and anti-asthmatic. He said even sale of major MNC’s popular brands such as Meftal, Cetzine (for fever), Exler, (a syrup made from cetrizine for allergy by Lab Indus) and other generic version syrups of paracetamol and cetrizine has fallen by 70 to 80 per cent.
“All the syrup category drugs have huge decline in sales for the last one year, and adding to the worries, the prices of the APIs have shot up. Moreover, the prices of these drugs are sealed by the national price regulator. One kilogram of paracetamol powder was available for Rs. 340 one year ago, but now it is priced at Rs. 620. Price of one kg of centrizine has risen from Rs. 1,800 to Rs. 2,900 in 2021, where as salbutamol one kg is now available at Rs. 8,725, which was getting for Rs. 4,700 in 2019-20. All cough syrups have witnessed a negative growth in the present pandemic period, however the situation has now gradually started to pick up,” he spoke to Pharmabiz.
He said all the syrups, those manufactured from paracetamol, salbutamol, centrizine and the mefanamic acid suspension are fully under DPCO, hence the manufacturers cannot increase the price. The MRPs of the products remain the same even when the prices of the raw materials have gone up hundred percent.
K A Surendran, president of the Kerala Medical & Sales Representatives Association (KMSRA), said pediatrics and geriatrics are the two highly reflecting areas that witnessed drop in sales of medicines in last one year. Sale of medicines used for respiratory infections in pulmonology like azithromycin, amoxicillin, anti-asthmatic products and steroid items for pediatrics have fallen by 70 per cent.
A paediatrician-cum-medical superintend of a government hospital in Kerala, Dr SG Baiju, has said that all over Kerala 70% of medicines commonly used for paediatric treatment could not be prescribed in the last one year because of shortage of visit by patients at the OP and the same situation was in all the private clinics. He said the situation has slightly improved now and parents are coming with children to the hospitals.