Haridwar: Hyderabad-based MedPlus Health Services, the second-largest pharmacy retail chain in India, is betting big on the $25-billion worth generic drugs market by introducing its own brand of generic medicines that is available across its network of 4,200 pharmacies. The brand has partnered with few contract drug manufacturing organisations (CDMOs) such as Akums India and Windlas Biotech for manufacturing 706 generic medicines.

MedPlus Health Services has placed an order of around 706 medicines with various CDMOs, out of which an order for 450 medicines is placed with Akums Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. As many as 550 medicines are available on the shelf right now at MedPlus pharmacies, of which nearly 360 are produced at Akums.

‘Store Generics,’ (a concept of selling its own brand of drugs at its own network of pharmacies) was first launched in Telangana, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Odisha in recent months. Out of the total products sold at MedPlus stores, 80 percent of them are pharma, while the rest are non-pharma products. “We have placed an order for 706 medicines including 450 with Akums. Close to 70 per cent of MedPlus drugs are manufactured at their facilities in Haridwar. Out of the 706 medicines, 550 generic drugs are available on the shelf right now, of which 350 to 360 are from Akums, the rest are likely to hit the stores in the next two months. These drugs account for 70 per cent of the medicinal needs. We have not touched upon insulin, some injections, and few hard to make drugs,” said Gangadi Madhukar Reddy, MD and CEO, MedPlus Health Services.

MedPlus has been selling branded and generic medicines at a discounted price. It started with 10 per cent discount, moved to 15 over a period of time and eventually they are at 20 per cent discount now. The CEO further informed that MedPlus brand of drugs are now sold at a discounted price of nearly 80 per cent.

“26.2 lakh customers across seven States have bought MedPlus brand of medicines at 50 to 80 per cent discounted price. This has resulted in Rs140 crore worth of savings for our customers on purchase of tablets which were bought earlier at 20 per cent discount. As we have cut down on additional marketing and distribution channel costs, we are able to sell it for lower cost,” Reddy said.

Speaking about the prevalence of contract drug manufacturing in the country, the CEO said, “For the same molecule, there are several brands available that are made by different marketing companies. This has led to an ecosystem wherein these products can be manufactured for different pharmaceutical companies. We have introduced the MedPlus brand of generic drugs to make sure that patients have access to medicines at affordable cost. Also, by having control over the quality of manufacturing and shipping of medicines directly to MedPlus pharmacies we have been able to eliminate the chances of fake medicines entering into the supply chain.”

According to Reddy, MedPlus has evaluated Akums Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd, in terms of quality of the manufacturing unit, right from the ingredients, testing, air quality, processes and so on, before roping in Akums as a contract drug manufacturer.