Sales of 75 publicly traded sellers of drugs in India grew modestly after accounting for currency exchange rates and heightened competition, resulting in weak profits during the nine months ending in December. The study by Pharmabiz found net profits of the 75 companies rose 17.7% before adjustments, to Rs. 9,553 crore (about $1.9 billion) between March and December 2011, from Rs. 8,115 crore ($1.6 billion) a year earlier. But when net profit after adjustments, including foreign exchange gain and loss, were accounted for, the 75 companies netted just Rs.7,948 crore ($1.58 billion) in the nine-month period, up 4.3%.

Total sales for the 75 companies grew 18%, to Rs. 66,001 crore (more than $13.1 billion) between March-December 2011 from Rs. 55,848 crore (more than $11.1 billion) for the same nine months of 2010. Those numbers reflect annual growth of more than 25% by many Indian-based pharmas, from giants such as Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries to such smaller companies as Aarti Drugs, Ajanta Pharma, Aananeya Lifecare, Vivimed Labs, Anuh Pharma, Smruthi Organics, and Suven Life Sciences.

Dr. Reddy’s delivered some impressive numbers, namely record high sales and profits for the October–December 2012 quarter. Profits zoomed 88% to Rs. 5,131 crore ($97 million) from Rs. 2,732 crore ($52 million) a year earlier, thanks to a more-than-doubling (133%) of North American revenues for generics. Driving many of these numbers was the onset of the company’s 180-day marketing exclusivity for a generic version of Eli Lilly’s antipsychotic drug Zyprexa 20 mg. The exclusivity runs out with the end of the fiscal year at the end of this month. Dr. Reddy’s October–December 2011 revenues grew 46% year-to-year, to 27,692 crore ($522 million).

Sun Pharma saw its October–December 2011 net profit near double from the previous year, to Rs. 668 crores ($133 million) on net sales/income from operations of Rs. 2,145 crores ($427 million), a 37% increase year-over-year. Nearly half of total sales come from the sale of finished dosage products in the U.S., which stood at $208 million, up 47% from October–December 2010.

However, the numbers omit results from a few key biopharma giants, from multinationals such as GlaxoSmithKline and Rainbaxy Laboratories to Indian companies such as Stride Arcolabs, Claris Lifesciences, Sharon Bio-Medicine. Their fiscal years do not follow the April–March schedule. Also omitted were companies that restructured or divested part of their operations during March–December 2011 or March–December 2010, such as Piramal Healthcare, Alembic Pharmaceutical, and J B Chemicals.

Looking to the current quarter, the Pharmabiz study concluded that excluding the impact of foreign exchange loss adjustments, the 75 public companies are set to achieve revenue growth of 15% to18% during the full year ending in March, and similar growth in adjusted profit despite several odds. cGMP problems by some would-be drug manufacturers may put some pressure on sales, but new product launches will help to maintain growth momentum, the study found.

To read the story from Pharmabiz, click here.

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