MUMBAI: Call it the Covid effect. Popular health supplement Zincovit, which provides essential vitamins and minerals, catapulted to the top spot in the domestic pharma retail market for the first time ever in October by becoming the largest-selling brand. Interestingly, this would also be the first instance of a multivitamin supplement overtaking sales of drugs for lifestyle ailments such as diabetes, including Human Mixtard (Novo Nordisk), Glycomet-GP (USV) and Lantus (Sanofi), which dominate the retail market.
A 30-year-old brand manufactured by the little-known Apex Labs, Zincovit registered sales of Rs 50 crore during October, dethroning the largest-selling brand Human Mixtard (insulin) with sales of around Rs 47 crore. A multivitamin supplement topping retail sales assumes significance as it comes alongside an increase in month-on-month sales of Human Mixtard (see graphic), prompted by a strong need to prop one’s immunity amid a raging pandemic, industry experts say.
Overall, the market posted a robust 10% growth in October, led by a higher number of prescriptions for anti-diabetics and cardiac drugs, coupled with a strong jump in vitamins and minerals. Zincovit — with sales averaging under Rs 20 crore — touched Rs 50 crore in October, witnessing a huge 60% jump during the six-month period of April-October, according to data culled from pharma research firm AIOCD Awacs.
Sales went up sharply over the last six months from April onwards when it was ranked 30th, then it hit the 11th position in June with sales of nearly Rs 30 crore, and was ranked second in September. In November, it dropped to the fourth position. That compares with the 53rd rank it had in January in the organised pharma retail market.
“We believed in the concept of immunity about 30 years ago and have been building the brand over the years. The category witnessed an unprecedented jump and, for us, has doubled over the 12-month ended November to Rs 340 crore. Zinc, a vital supplement, is also part of therapy for Covid-19 patients,” the Chennai-based manufacturer’s head (marketing) Venkatesh Mallo told TOI. Overall, the vitamins and minerals segment — with sales of around Rs 12,700 crore (for the 12-month period ended October) — jumped nearly 23% last month, as against 16% in September. Immunity boosters continued their upward trend in purchases across India. Vitamin C and zinc -containing brands were the most in demand. These include Zincovit (Apex Labs), Bevon (Zuventus), Limcee (Abbott), Celin (Koye) and Citravite XT (Pharmed), according to research firm Pronto Consult’s founder and MD Hari Natarajan.
A substantial growth was also witnessed in sales of other multivitamins which contain zinc, sold by Zuventus (Emcure) and Alkem.