Sex sells—in drugs too

Revital and I-pill are the best-selling drugs dislodging perennial favourites, cough syrups and vitamins. Pre-sex and post-sex drugs of Ranbaxy and Cipla are selling at a scorching pace

For years, cough syrups and vitamins used to dominate the list of best-selling drugs in India. But now, for the first time in India, a sex stimulant drug has become the largest selling drug in India. Revital, an over the counter drug from Ranbaxy has dislodged Corex (Pfizer) and Phensedyl (Nicholas Piramal) and is ranked as the largest selling drug in India. Revital, a combination of ginseng, vitamins and minerals, from Ranbaxy had sales of Rs66 crore during seven months to July 2009 and growing by healthy 25%. Given this growth, it is likely to cross Rs125-Rs130 crore this year and will create a huge lead in the pecking order of top Indian drugs. A combination of social and economic reasons has pushed the sales of Revital to a new high: higher disposable income, changing lifestyles and increased advertising and promotion. Ranbaxy has spent heavily on advertisements that turned this product into the highest selling drug.
It is not the only the pre-sex drug for men that is hot. The after-sex drug for females has also beaten cough syrups and vitamins. I-pill, a drug from Cipla, used for protection against pregnancy, recorded huge growth and was the second-largest selling drug. Its annual sales are expected to be around Rs80 crore-Rs90 crore. The interesting thing about I–pill is that it is expensive and has even then recorded such massive revenues. This drug costs Rs75 a tablet but obviously demand is huge and price inelastic. Thanks to massive advertisements, I-pill is flying off the shelves. According to industry sources, Cipla has spent Rs20 crore on advertisements for this drug.
It is the advertising that may have done the trick for both Ranbaxy and Cipla. After all, the prescription drugs and Indian equivalent to Viagra (sildenafil citrate) like Kamagra from Ajanta Pharma, Caverta from Ranbaxy, Manforce from Mankind, Penegra from Zydus Cadilla and Suhagra from Cipla are nowhere near the top. Only OTC products can be advertised. Those companies selling prescription drugs cannot. The two companies are also spending hugely on media and public relations.
- Dhruv Rathi [email protected]

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