25 May 2001 12:09 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Franco-German pharmaceutical giant Aventis on Friday denied a report that its subsidiary, Hoechst Marion Roussel India (HMR India), plans to exit the Indian market for anti-tuberculosis (TB) drugs.
The Economic Times, an Indian business newspaper, reported on Wednesday that HMR India intended to withdraw its rifapentine products Rifater and Rifadin because their profit margins are depressed by India's drug pricing regulations. The newspaper said HMR's (TB) products face strong competition from Lupin Labs, the market leader with its own rifapentine products, and Novartis. HMR India's brands have annual sales of only about Rs250m ($5.3m/Euro6.1m), according to the newspaper.
But an Aventis spokesman said: "Our principal concern is not the market size and position but being sure that people will be supplied with the drugs they need."
The company said in a statement that it intends to continue distributing its current range of TB products in India. Any decision to phase out a product would only be taken after the full insurance of continuous availability from other suppliers, it insisted.
Aventis also denied a suggestion by The Economic Times that it was losing interest in the worldwide TB market. "On a global basis, Aventis is fully committed to supplying different markets … and had no intention of discontinuing its anti-TB drugs portfolio," it said.
The spokesman noted that the anti-TB market is very well served, with some 225 medicines available worldwide from multiple suppliers.
HMR India has been gradually reducing its portfolio in recent years, and saw net profits rise substantially last year despite reduced sales.
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