MUMBAI: In good news for diabetics, cheaper versions of a blockbuster drug — Januvia (Sitagliptin) — hit the market on Wednesday, with more expected soon.
The growing anti-diabetes market, valued at about Rs 17,000 crore, is set to witness action with generic versions of US firm Merck’s blockbuster Januvia being launched, reducing the cost of therapy by a third. This is on the heels of Sitagliptin, a relatively newer but vital anti-diabetic drug, losing patent protection in July.
Importantly, the drug’s generic versions are expected to be priced in the range of Rs 8-18 per day, down from the existing Rs 45 per day therapy marketed by Merck, experts told TOI.
Diabetes is fast gaining the status of a potential epidemic in India with over 74 million cases, and a huge undiagnosed diabetes population. The entry of affordable drugs could help in improving accessibility
Sitagliptin is perceived to be a ‘superior’ molecule with global sales of over $5 billion. The market size for this in India 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. Further, 50-100 firms including Cipla, Torrent, Zydus Cadila,Lupin and Alkem are readying plans to get a slice of the action, experts told TOI.
Several companies told TOI about their launch plans. “Glenmark has just launched Sitagliptin and its combination Sitagliptin-+Metformin under brand names SITAZIT 50mg and SITAZIT 100mg. It is priced at almost one-third compared to its innovator brand (Januvia),” an official said.
A Dr Reddy’s spokesperson said, “Dr Reddy’s Stig will be among the most affordably priced options.
Kirti Ganorkar, CEO of India business at Sun Pharma, said, “To further improve access, we are now making it available at a more affordable price.” It may be pointed out that Sun Pharma was marketing Merck’s drug Januvia till now.