December 20, 2005

Pfizer debuts Viagra in India

MUMBAI -- Pfizer Ltd., the Indian unit of Pfizer Inc., on Tuesday launched blockbuster drug Viagra in the country, aiming to treat some of the estimated 90 million Indians suffering from erectile dysfunction.

"We expect to capture 10 to 15 percent of the market in the next two years," K.G. Ananthakrishnan, senior director, pharmaceuticals at Pfizer Ltd., told reporters. "The estimated market size is about 750 million to a billion rupees."

The billion-dollar drug would initially launch in 30 cities, seven years after it first hit the U.S. market.

A 50 milligram tablet is priced at 463 rupees and 100 mg at 594 rupees a tablet, on par with prices in other Asian countries, but more than 10 times the price of generic alternatives.

"This is to give the customers who need a genuine product at a constant price," Ananthakrishnan said, adding that Viagra sales in the Indian grey market are worth about 70 million rupees.

"In the grey market, the price depends on demand. Now the patient could get it at a stable price."

The drug, imported from France, will be distributed by Pfizer's local unit, which would earn the revenue and profits.

Viagra is Pfizer's second high-profile launch in India this year, after VFend, a drug to treat fungal disease, in January.