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Novartis India looking at two product launches in 2007

Our Bureau

Mumbai , July 21

NOVARTIS India will look at launching a couple of products in India in 2007. This will be in addition to its exploring licensing and acquisition opportunities, company top brass told analysts on Thursday.

Mr Ranjit Shahani, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, said that they were in discussions for licensing deals in terms of marketing products and combined research.

Mr Anil Matai, CEO, said that products that qualify for patents will be launched in the country.

The company looks to launch two products in 2007 for the cardio-vascular, respiratory, oncology, and diabetes segments, to begin with, he added.

"The uncertainty over price control is the biggest challenge for pharma companies."

Besides licensing deals, the company is looking at the consolidation taking place in the market and opportunities that it throws up.

Meanwhile, Dr P.R. Rao, Vice-President with Animal Health, Novartis, said that the business contributed to six per cent of the company's sales.

One of the challenges for the generics business, according to Mr Chandrasekaran of Novartis, is the Government's shift in the tender process in the tuberculosis segment.

On the cancer drug, Glivec, which is currently mired in litigation, Mr Shahani said that 4,000 patients were receiving the drug free. The 45 paying patients were having their costs reimbursed in one form or the other.

Further, on the company's over-the-counter (OTC) business, he said that there is ambiguity over the policy.

The industry has received a letter from the Drug Controller-General of India for a list of products to be put in the OTC category. "Globally, there are 57 such drugs and this could be mirrored in India."

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Novartis India looking at two product launches in 2007

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