Cipla may cut prices of other cancer drugs too

Indian Domestic pharma major Cipla may extend its "affordable and humanitarian" pricing strategy on other anti-cancer drugs in its portfolio, even as domestic generic companies are still trying to grapple with the huge cuts and evaluate their pricing options.

Cipla, the second largest pharma company in India by value, fired the first salvo by reducing prices of its three key anticancer drugs between 59 to 76%, used in treating brain, lung and kidney cancer, on Thursday.

Industry experts said Cipla's move will trigger a reevaluation of portfolio and prices in the oncology segment for all companies competing in this space. Besides, it will also help more generic companies to penetrate the market.

While Cipla will "examine the impact" of its move on doctors and the market , before it slashes prices of more cancer drugs, most players in the Rs 1,500-crore oncology market such as Glenmark, Natco Pharma and Hetero Drugs said that they would take a decision over the next few days.

Cipla, which has 23 oncology drugs in its portfolio, has been able to offer the price advantage because of backward integration and reverse engineering, its chairman Y K Hamied told, adding that it is hoping to launch biosimilars like Roche's Avastin and Herceptin used in cancer treatment at cutthroat prices in the next two years.

"Margins will not be impacted as oncology drugs are less than 5% of total sales of companies," says Ranjit Kapadia senior VP Centrum Broking.

-The Times of India