Original hypertension treatments by multinational pharmaceuticals achieved a robust sales growth in August, while most of the local rival drugs faced a recall due to carcinogen risks.
According to data from UBIST, nine original treatments for high blood pressure such as Twynsta posted 32.8 billion won ($29.5 million) in outpatient prescriptions in August, up 3.2 percent from 31.8 billion won in the previous month.
In stark contrast, recalled valsartan drugs with carcinogen risks such as Norvasc V suffered an 80 percent sales plunge to 909 million won during the period.
Many suppliers of recalled valsartan drugs are still hesitating to resume the sales, worrying that the carcinogen stigma could persist even after the lifting of sales suspension.
Novartis’ Exforge had the most significant benefit from the valsartan debacle.
Immediately after the government’s ban on carcinogen-containing valsartan drugs, Novartis pushed for aggressive marketing to expand a market share.
Outpatient prescriptions of Exforge shot up 18.25 percent to 6.8 billion won in August from 5.8 billion won in the previous month.
Boehringer Ingelheim’s Twynsta also enjoyed a 3.3 percent increase in revenue to 7.1 billion won in August from 6.8 billion won in July. Sales of Aprovel by Handok rose 2.5 percent to 1.1 billion won in August.
On the other hand, 17 products that were suspended from sales due to the use of carcinogen-containing ingredient suffered a significant decline in outpatient prescriptions. Physicians still prescribed some of them, despite the recall order.
The prescribed drugs in spite of the recall include Valsarex by Huons with 379 million won prescriptions, Daewon Pharmaceutical’s Excombi with 91 million won, and Pfizer’s Norvasc V with 91 million won. JW Pharmaceutical’s Valsaforce, Aju Pharm’s Anafurge, and Huons Medicare’s Huniz Valsarpin sold more than 500 million won, respectively, in August.
“After the valsartan recall, original drug companies were able to dominate the supply of hypertension drugs,” an official at a drugmaker said.
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