In January 2019, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) notified a 15% increase in the retail price of medicines (9% on lifesaving drugs). The price rise came as a result of the weakening of the Pakistan rupee against the dollar, partly in anticipation of a devaluation of the currency as part of an IMF bailout deal, and the resultant increase in raw material and packaging material costs, as well as an increase in electricity and gas tariffs.
The ongoing development of the self-medication trend will be a key contributor to growth in analgesics during the forecast period. Pakistani consumers are increasingly seeking to avoid seeing a doctor unless symptoms are serious, as they become more comfortable with the idea of self-medicating, particularly if products have been recommended by pharmacists.
The growing demand for OTC analgesics is expected to stimulate increasing investment in product innovation and marketing activity in the category. Established brands are expected to see the introduction of extensions targeting particular consumer groups and usage occasions, including the launch of novel formats such as sprays and gels.
Foreign multinational players remained dominant in analgesics at the end of the review period. Players such as GSK Consumer Healthcare, Abbott Laboratories and Reckitt Benckiser benefit from a long-standing presence in the market and high levels of consumer brand awareness.
In order to build a presence in the face of intense competition from major multinationals, domestic companies are likely to focus on the development of generic products that compete primarily in terms of price. The DRAP’s control of prices limits opportunities for price-based competition.
While domestic players focus on pricing, the major international analgesics brands seek to differentiate themselves through investment in marketing activity, including mass media advertising on TV and radio, as well as in-store activities. Such marketing support helped GSK Consumer Healthcare’s market-leading Panadol, Abbott Laboratories’ Arinac and Brufen, and Reckitt Benckiser’s Disprin to gain share in the final two years of the review period.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Consumer Health market research database.