Pune/Lucknow, January 2023: JB Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (JB Pharma), one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in India, announced a substantial price decrease of approximately 50% for the critical heart failure drug “Azmarda”. Azmarda, which contains the patented molecule Sacubitril-Valsartan is indicated for Heart failure which ails 8 to 12 million people in the country. After the price reduction, Azmarda (Sacubitril-Valsartan®), 50 mg will be available at INR 39.6 per tablet as compared to INR 78 per tablet. The overall prevalence of hypertension in Maharashtra is 25%, which is one of the important risk factors for heart failure. The price reduction will increase the affordability, making the management of heart failure accessible to the people of the state of Maharashtra.
Commenting on the move, Vikas Khare, Vice President & Head Chronic Cluster, JB Pharma, said, “Being a leading player in the cardiac segment, JB has decided to take the lead in making their Azmarda drug more accessible and affordable for heart failure patients in India. This is in line with our strategy of providing innovative and quality treatment to a larger patient pool at the most affordable price points. This move will significantly reduce the overall monthly treatment cost from INR 4500 to INR 2200. The HF drug also helps in reducing hospitalization cost by around INR 1,00,000 at the minimum. The drug with reduced MRP is available to consumers from December 2022.
“Heart Failure is a devastating condition and it’s important to increase awareness about the condition. In that regard, we will also institute 30+ ‘Heart failure’ clinics in Maharashtra, and 300+ across the country so that patients can detect this medical condition early and make informed health decisions,” added Mr Khare.
Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. It is a progressive chronic syndrome characterised by a decrease in functional status and quality of life. Blood often backs up and causes fluid to build up in the lungs (congest) and in the legs. The fluid build-up can cause shortness of breath and swelling of the legs and feet. It is estimated that 8 – 12 million people in the country suffer from heart failure (HF) as a condition. It often remains undiagnosed, and patients become aware of it mostly at the end-stage.
Speaking on the burden of heart failure in the country, Dr Nitin Patki, Cardiology Associate – Melbourne Interventional Cardiologist, MMF’s Joshi Hospital, Pune said, “Although India is home to 40% of the world’s 2.6 crore patients with heart failure, there is poor awareness about this condition. Heart failure is a challenge ahead of us because Indians are prone to lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, which are risk factors for heart failure. Lack of drug adherence in India is also one of the leading causes of heart failure because only about 50% of India’s heart failure patients ever take medicines. Besides spreading awareness, we need to work out a way ahead to ensure that more patients are diagnosed early and start treatment early, and strict to the dosages of medicines prescribed.”
HF patients were traditionally prescribed only ARBs (Angiotensin receptor blockers) / AI (Ace Inhibitors) as the main medication. Sacubitril + Valsartan, launched in 2017, is considered superior to ARBs/AIs in raising EF (Ejection Fraction), hence highly effective for HFrEF patients. Sacubitril+ Valsartan is currently prescribed to 30-35% of HFrEF patients while doctors believe the share can go up to 50-65% with the right pricing.
As per IQVIA, MAT Sep 22 data Sacubitril-Valsartan® is now an INR 500+ crores market with a 3-year CAGR of ~30%. The molecule is presently patented by Novartis AG, Switzerland and currently, four companies including Novartis are serving the Indian market. The molecule is expected to go off-patent in January 2023. Presently Azmarda is the third largest brand in the category capturing 17% market share with IQVIA MAT OCT’22 sales of INR 93.5 crores. In April 2022, JB Pharma acquired the Azmarda brand from Novartis AG, Switzerland for the India region for a consideration of INR 246 crores.