Sun Pharma enters dermatology segment to expand OTC business
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd on Wednesday announced its entry into the dermatology segment with the launch of its sunscreen product Suncros, as it seeks to expand its over-the-counter business.

The company will co-promote the brand across both prescription and consumer channels, as part of its plans to drive Suncros growth in India, Sun Pharma said in a filing to the stock exchanges. Suncros was available only in the prescription segment till now.

Media reports said, citing Sun Pharma India business CEO Abhay Gandhi, that Suncros has an 18% market share and the company aims to increase it to 30% in two to three years.

Sun Pharma’s global consumer healthcare business in India markets dietary supplements, analgesics and antacids. 

The company, which entered the consumer healthcare business with the acquisition of Ranbaxy, said that dermatology is a high-margin, high-growth business which the company wants to use as a base to create a global consumer entity.

“The company is evaluating various options to grow the business including foray in new products categories and potential inorganic opportunities,” it said.

Some Indian companies have been making acquisitions in the past months to ramp up their OTC businesses.

In May, Piramal Enterprises Ltd agreed to purchase four brands from drugmaker Pfizer Ltd for Rs 110 crore ($16.5 million), making this the billionaire Ajay Piramal-led company’s third acquisition in the consumer healthcare segment in six months.

Recently, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd acquired half a dozen OTC drug brands from American drugmaker Ducere Pharma to enter the branded consumer health business in the US. 

Cipla announced its plan to move its consumer healthcare business into a separate unit in July 2015. It cleared all regulatory hurdles earlier this year to formally float its consumer healthcare business, which is backed by PE firm Eight Roads Ventures. 

Novartis, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and Reckitt Benckiser are among the multinational firms that have a strong presence in the Indian OTC segment.

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