A price war is brewing in India’s growing diabetes drug market, drawing comparisons with the recent tariff battles in the telecom sector. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals NSE -1.45 % has launched a patented anti-diabetes drug Remogliflozin (branded Remo), which it developed with Japanese partner Kissei Pharmaceutical Company, priced at half the rate of rival offerings. Remo comes under a class of drugs called SGLT2 (sodium glucose co-transporter-2), which provides glycemic control, induces weight loss and reduces cardiovascular risks.
This is the first new drug by an Indian company to win approval in the past six years, Glenn Saldanha, MD of Glenmark, told ET. He said SGLT2 drugs are the fastest-growing category and Remo will be offered at a “significant discount” to the high-priced brands in this class. Remo is priced at Rs 25 per day, or Rs 750 for a month, and will take on Forxiga of AstraZenecaNSE 1.93 %, Jardiance from German drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim and Invokana of Jansen, which cost patients about Rs 1,500 per month.
Glenmark had initiated a similar price war with its Teneligliptin, another new class of drugs called DPP4 for the treatment of type-II diabetes mellitus. The growing burden of diabetes has created a Rs 15,000 crore market in India for drugs to treat the disease, one that is growing in double digits. With 72 million Indian adults suffering from diabetes, drug companies have a range of patients to target. However, low prices also mean that only the fittest survive.