The most popular drug Viagra has been launched by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer in 30 different cities across India where more than 90 million men are believed to suffer from erectile dysfunction. The drug company is expected to gain access to approximately 10 to 15 % of the market within the next two years according to K.G. Ananthakrishnan, senior director of drug company in charge of the Indian wing.
Several factors regarding the Indian Pharmaceutical market have been held responsible for Pfizer's move to market the drug in the country. Although it was not possible to patent a drug in India, from 1970 until the beginning of this year, it was possible to patent the technique of drug production.
This meant that generic forms of the drug could be launched in India while it was against law in several other countries. This led to growth of reverse engineering of the brands that were legally protected elsewhere. Infact, a generic version of Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate) was available in India much before the launch of the launch of the pill in the U.S. drug market before 7 years.
An amendment in the patent law implemented later this year has led to a change in the scenario with the law falling in line with the one prevalent across other parts of the world. This also complies with the World Trade Organization's TRIPS Agreement according to which a product can be protected against selling of copycat versions by other manufacturers for a period of 20 years.
In moving towards the new set of laws, India agreed that its generics drug companies would pull drugs that are copycat versions of drugs approved elsewhere after 1995. First approved by the FDA in 1998, Viagra brought Pfizer $1.68 billion in revenue in 2004.
A 50-gram dosage of the drug is to be priced at Rs. 463 and a 100 mg tablet at Rs. 594. This higher pricing would limit the affordability of all members of the society. This move only indicates the supreme confidence of Pfizer regarding the removal of other generic versions of Viagra from the Indian market.
This is yet another reason for the anticipated rise in sales of the erectile dysfunction drug. It is hoped that Indian customers would be willing to pay an optimal price for the genuine product.