How Sanofi is reshaping diabetes management in India

The current diabetic epidemic in India is not a new one. Sharp decline in physical activity followed by increase stress is a creating an environment where diabetes is growing at 22 % an annum. Currently according to conservative estimates we have 61 million diabetics.

The focus of most pharmaceutical companies in India has been education and screening. Global players like Eli Lilly and market leader Novo Nordisk have been spending a lot of time and effort setting up educational and screening platforms.

But when it comes to fighting type 2 diabetes, most of these firms depend on Insulin pens manufactured abroad, which are very expensive for the Indian buyers. The insulin pen is a device can can help patients calibrate the amount of insulin that they need to take per dose. Also the pen has a very efficient delivery mechanism which is a good alternative to the traditional method of using injections to administer the drug.

Sanofi which is a new comer to the Indian market has just launched its new reusable pen under the brand name of AllStar. Priced at Rs 650 this device is one of the most economical entry in the market. This is a new strategy compared to the earlier efforts by payers to import pens and lobby for lower duties.

Sanofi which had acquired Shantha Biotechics earlier, have leveraged that acquisition to create a product by India and for India. AllStar would be manufactured in the Sanofi plant in Gujrat.

The product as well as the pricing is expected to create a big dent in the 4600 crore India diabetes market. Though they set up the portfolio in India only in 2009, I feel this new product will significantly increase their market share.

In my opinion there will be two major scenarios that will happen as a direct result of this entry

  1. There is bound to be a shakeout in the market Out of the current 126 firms that serve the diabetes market in India. Most will find it difficult to function profitably. Only 41 firms have revenues of more than a crore. Many firms will be acquired or will just cease to exist.
  2. The market will also see many partnerships. The one recently announced was between American firm Eli Lilly, German Pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim and Indian firm Lupin. In the coming days we will see many more such partnerships.

I feel things are really shaping up but screening and awareness continues to be challenge. But I want to get your perspective on this. What do you think are our big challenges? How can we overcome them? Can we develop our own system of diabetes management?


Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran

Management Thinker, Marketer, Healthcare Professional Communicator and Ideation exponent

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