| Generic medicine market to continue growth trend in 2017 | Generic medicine market to continue growth trend in 2017

Cape Town – South Africa’s pharmaceutical industry has continued to weather the storm amid tough economic conditions, said Erik Roos, CEO of generic medicine company Pharma Dynamics in a statement. “Since 2012, originators have steadily lost market share due to fierce competition, while the generic market boasted double digit growth,” Roos said, adding that more growth in the generics market could be expected in 2017.“Even though generic volume penetration will start to slow down, the 2 900 generic dossiers currently sitting at the Medical Control Council awaiting registration will significantly boost generic growth in the next 12 to 18 months,” according to Roos.The launch of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority – the new regulatory authority set to take over from the MCC in April this year – will see products being fast-tracked and brought to market much sooner than before. “Based on past industry figures, registering products with the MCC could take up to five years. Alleviating this backlog could see hundreds of new generic products flood the market, making newer generation molecules available to patients at a fraction of the cost,” Roos said. SA’s ageing population drives medicine demand Since the introduction of generics in South Africa, medicine prices have been slashed by 80% – making medicines more affordable and accessible to the masses.Roos’ confidence in the generic sector is further motivated by South Africa’s growing demand for medicines.“The massive increase in demand is mainly driven by South Africa’s ageing population of 4,209 million people who are older than 65, who are most likely to require chronic healthcare interventions. From 2005 to 2015 the size of the aged population almost doubled from 4.1 % to 7.7 %,” Roos said citing the World Health Organisation’s World Report on Ageing and Health. “According to the report, this figure will rise to 10.06 million people by 2050. This, along with the various cost containment measures that are being employed by government, should further increase generic prescription and substitution at pharmacy level,” said Roos.OTC medicine sales surge The fact that patients are also increasingly being empowered to take a proactive role in maintaining good health has also spurred a surge in over-the-counter medicine sales, particularly among schedule 2 products that are primarily a generics- dominated category. Unscheduled medicines have experienced the fastest unit sales growth at 5% in the past year.Among the top-selling generic medicines in this category are those aimed at pain- and fever relief, as well as OTC cold preparations.Roos points out that a call to reschedule certain OTC drugs such as aspirin and codeine to prescription drugs could impact the size of the OTC market and particularly the price of the products, as they will be subject to Single Exit Pricing. The single exit price mechanism in South Africa lists the maximum price that a medicine can be charged at. Dispensers may charge an additional dispensing fee depending on the price of the medicine.Roos suspects unit sales will continue to grow in the OTC category although tighter regulation in the pending Complementary and Alternative Medicines Act – which seeks to remove products with unsubstantiated medical claims from the market – could impact the size of the market upon enactment later this year.The South African…

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