The growth anti-diabetes the market, valued at around Rs 17,000 crore, is expected to see action with generic versions of the US company MerckJanuvia’s blockbuster will launch over the next few months, cutting the cost of therapy by a third. This follows sitagliptin, a relatively new but lifesaving diabetes drug, which lost patent protection in July.
Importantly, generic versions of the drug are expected to cost between Rs 8 and 18 per day, down from the existing Rs 45 per day therapy marketed by Merck, industry experts have told TOI.
Diabetes is rapidly gaining potential epidemic status in India with over 74 million cases and a huge undiagnosed diabetes population. The entry of affordable drugs could help improve the accessibility of better and newer therapies in the country.
Sitagliptin is seen as a “superior” molecule with global sales of over $5 billion and the top-selling among gliptins, a relatively new class of oral diabetes medications. The market size of this segment (also known as DPP4 inhibitors) and its combinations in India is growing rapidly and is valued at around Rs 3,600 crore.
Generic versions from some major companies, including Dr Reddy’s, Glenmark, Sun Pharma and JB Chemicals – will hit the market this week. In addition, 50 to 100 companies, including Cipla, Torrent, Zydus Cadila, Lupine and Alkem are making plans to get a piece of the action, industry experts told TOI.
Several companies have informed TOI of their launch plans. “Glenmark has just launched Sitagliptin and its combination Sitagliptin+Metformin under the brand names SITAZIT 50mg and SITAZIT 100mg. Its price is almost a third compared to its innovative brand (Januvia),” an official said.
So far, prescriptions have been dominated by the low-cost teneligliptin, a third-generation anti-diabetic drug, which rocked the market with its affordability a few years ago. Now, with the availability of affordable sitagliptin, the majority of patients are expected to switch. A spokesperson for Dr Reddy said: “We are launching sitagliptin under the brand name Stig. In keeping with our goal of ‘good health can’t wait’, Dr Reddy’s Stig will be one of the most affordable options available to patients with diabetes. »
Kirti Ganorkar, CEO of India operations at Sun Pharma, said the company “has been at the forefront of providing access to innovative medicines for doctors and patients.” He added, “In line with this philosophy, we introduced this patented drug to India under an exclusive license agreement ten years ago. To further improve patient access, we are now making it available at a more affordable price. It should be noted that Sun Pharma has until now marketed the drug Januvia from Merck.
The patented drug has been available on the domestic market for several years, with the innovator battling domestic companies to prevent the entry of copycat versions. Although this class is becoming a very popular anti-diabetic therapy, experts say that their prices, especially for economically constrained patients, have always been a major concern. This should be fixed now with the entry of cheaper versions.
Sitagliptin is one of the biggest blockbusters in the world, and the second after vildagliptin among the gliptins to come out of the patent. Vildagliptin was the first gliptin to come off the block in 2019.