“Our vision is to get generics manufactured in the most quality regulated plants for Indian consumers”

September 11, 2021 0 By CH Unnikrishnan

Generic medicines in the US market are typically priced about 80 to 85 percent lower than the price at which they are sold under a brand name before patent expiry.  Because of this, the US healthcare system saves trillions of dollars when a patent expires on a drug molecule. Indian pharmaceutical companies play an important role in helping realize these trillions of dollars in savings. However, in India, the same companies sell these patent-expired drugs at a price that is 80 percent higher compared to a generic drug because they put a brand name on it. This is the biggest contradiction that remains unresolved in the Indian pharma market, the result of allowing both branded generics and generic generics in the market. However, a few generic pharmacy chains are trying to break this dichotomy. 

Although  the government set up Jan Aushadhi stores to promote cheap generics in the country, they haven’t made much of an impact in the market as there is a general apprehension among the consumers regarding the quality of such cheap generics. Nevertheless, trade experts are of the opinion that it is just a matter of time before the Indian pharma trade sees a revolutionary change, triggered by fast-increasing consumer awareness ushered in by quality players in the cheap generics market. The trend will be buttressed by efforts to put strong systems in place in terms of quality assurance and the passing on of significant price benefits to consumers, says 

Siddharth Gadia, co-founder and CEO of Zeno Health (erstwhile Generico), a fast growing generic pharmacy chain. Excerpts of an exclusive interview with Editor CH Unnikrishnan

 As far as the Indian market is concerned,  branded generics has always been a lucrative business in pharma both for the manufacturers as well as the traders due to the high levels of profitability. Why did you choose generic-generics, where prices are low and so as the margin, as a choice of business?

To be very frank, we knew hardly anything about the pharma trade when we, myself and my partner Girish Agarwal, wanted to do some business on our own as we were working with some multinational companies as tech professionals after our IIT graduation. The only connection that we had with the pharma and healthcare industry was that we used to write software for pharma companies helping them promote retail. But a few interactions with pharma retailers when we were bitten by the entreprene…

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