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Pfizer, Abbott cough syrups banned in India, shares tank

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Drug majors and have stopped sale of their popular cough syrups Corex and Phensedyl respectively, after the government banned over 300 fixed dose combinations (FDCs) drugs.

Pfizer, Abbott cough syrups banned in India, shares tank
The ban will impact nearly 4 per cent or Rs 3,800 crore of the organised pharma retail market

The two companies, however, were quoted by PTI as saying in statements that they are exploring “all options” to counter the impact of ban.

Pfizer today said it has stopped the sale of its Corex cough syrup that garnered sales of Rs 176 crore in the nine-month period ended December 31, and said the Government’s move will have an adverse impact on it.

“The company is exploring all available options at its disposal. The prohibition is likely to have an adverse impact on the revenue and profitability of the company,” Pfizer said in a BSE filing.

In view of the Government ban on manufacture and sale of Corex, the “company has discontinued the manufacture and sale of it’s drug ‘Corex’ with immediate effect,” Pfizer said adding that Corex has a well established efficacy and safety profile in India for more then 30 years.

Abbott has also stopped sale of its Phensedyl cough syrup.

A company spokesperson was quoted by PTI as saying: “Abbott is complying with all legal requirements related to the Government notification.”

The company termed the Health Ministry’s decision to ban “certain fixed dose combinations drugs that have been already approved” as an “unilateral approach”.

“Abbott has reviewed the DCGI notification and we are concerned about the unilateral approach in prohibiting the manufacture, sale and distribution of certain fixed dose combinations that have already been approved for use by DCGI.

“We are evaluating the notification and exploring all available options. Some of these formulations have been the treatment of choice in specific medical conditions. We are concerned that patients may not have access to some medicines which have been approved by DCGI and safely and effectively used in India for years,” the spokesperson was quoted by PTI as saying.

In a gazette notification on March 10, the Government had, among others, banned manufacture, sale and distribution of fixed does combination of chlopheniramine maleate plus codiene syrup which is used in the cough syrups.

IMPACT ON ORGANIZED PHARMA RETAIL MAKET

A report in The Economic Times read: The ban on “irrational” 350-odd fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs including wide-selling pain-killers, anti-diabetic medicines and respiratory therapies, will impact nearly 4 per cent or Rs 3,800 crore of the organised pharma retail market.

Top brands which will face a ban include popular analgesics Zerodol and Sumo, dermatology drug Panderm Plus, anti-diabetic medicine Tripride, and gastro-intestinal drug Zenflox, besides cough syrups Phensedyl and Corex.

SHARES TANK

Shares of Pfizer and Abbott India fell up to 5 per cent in Monday’s trade after the government banned 329 drugs in India, including cough syrups by these two companies.

Pfizer dropped 4.66 per cent to hit a low of Rs 1,837.95 on BSE. The banned drugs included the company’s widely available Corex syrup.

Abbott India shares fell 1.98 per cent to hit a low of Rs 4,755 after ban on its Phensedyl syrup. Abbott is reviewing the notification, the Economic Times reported.