Following Covid-19 protocols have led to a reduction in sales of anti-infective drugs

Wednesday March 17, 2021 at 1:08 pm

Ahmedabad: People who are regularly following the practice of hand hygiene, wearing masks and leading a healthy lifestyle as a basic means of protection from the fatal virus have helped in the reduction of other infectious diseases. This, however, has led to the fall in sales of anti-infective drugs.

The sales of anti-infective drugs in India reduced by 11.3% in January and 2.4% in February, thus summing to Rs 1,468 crore and Rs 1,547 crore respectively. Data compiled by AIOCD AWACS, a market research wing of All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has pointed out that in the previous year, the growth rate was 14.1% and 6.7% respectively.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the anti-infective section had a tough time with the sales dropping down in 7 out of 11 months. The sales reduced to 20.8% in May, 9.7% in June, 10.2% in July, and 11% in August in the year 2020. However, the sales recovered with a growth of 6.6% in October and 5.2% in December. During 2019-20, there was an average growth of 10% in the sector.

Dr. Pragnesh Vachhrajani, joint secretary of Family Physicians Association of India stated, “Covid-19 pandemic saw an unprecedented awareness among people with regards to hygiene. Less eating out cut down on GI infections, constant wearing of masks cut respiratory infections. Overall, heightened awareness about cleanliness led to a massive reduction in bacterial infections the whole of last year and current year too”.

Dr. Bharat Gadhavi, president of Ahmedabad Hospitals Network Association (AHNA) stated that apart from the hygiene that reduced the number of infections, planned surgeries that warrant heavy antibiotics also came down to 60-70% during the pandemic era.

Dr. Gadhavi further said, “Overall, barring Covid patients, the number of patients has drastically reduced which reflects in poor sales of anti-infectives”.

Ameesh Masurekar, the founding director of AIOCD AWACS exclaimed, “At present, the level of precaution is much higher than what it used to be in pre-Covid time. As a result, cases of several other infections have reduced, which has kept anti-infective drug sales muted”.

Gujarat is a major retail market for medicines and also the leading state in pharma production and accounts for 32-33% of the total production in the country.

Alpesh Patel, president of the Federation of Gujarat State Chemists and Druggists’ Association proclaimed, “Our lifestyles have changed after the pandemic. The awareness about personal health and hygiene has risen. People have started taking medicines to boost immunity. Hence, the cases of several other infections have gone down, which has brought down sales of anti-infectives, especially oral drugs”.

The industry is also under the expectation that the anti-infective therapeutic segment shall continue to suffer in the upcoming days as people continue to remain hygienically sound during the pandemic.