Drugmaker Lupin has lined up plans for the over-the-counter (OTC) segment, with a pilot project set to roll across two geographies, said Managing Director Nilesh Gupta, of a sector that is seeing much action lately.

About six months after the pilot project is rolled out, the plan is to take the business nationwide, Gupta said.

This would be the first serious foray by the company in the segment, despite the few products they have had in the past, he added.

The OTC portfolio will involve in-house products, he said, without divulging details on the products or segments they would be in. And while the management are always on the look out to acquire good products, they were too highly priced in India, he added.

The OTC business is a huge magnet for companies as they can sell products directly to consumers without requiring a doctor’s prescription.

Only last week, Piramal Enterprises agreed to buy four products from Pfizer (including legacy products like Waterbury’s Compound and Ferradol), a move that would strengthen its basket of consumer products.

GlaxoSmithKline also just got bigger in this space after a global transaction to buy Novartis’ OTC business housed in a joint venture between the two companies.

Looking at the year ahead, Gupta said they expected about 25 product launches in the US, along with recently acquired Gavis. Last year had seen approvals pick up at the end, totalling to 39. On regulatory observations from the US Food and Drug Administration on its Goa and Pithampur (MP) plants, he said, they were both on remedial mode. The company’s net profit for the three months ended March 31, 2016, stood at ₹807 crore against ₹547 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Net sales clocked for the quarter stood at ₹4,091 crore against ₹3,054 crore in Q4 FY2015.

The company’s performance was driven by robust growth across key markets in the US, India and Japan.

The company’s investment in research for the quarter increased to 12.5 per cent of net sales to ₹511 crore.

The same spending for the year stood at ₹1,603 crore, or 11.7 per cent of net sales.

For the year ended March 31, 2016, the Group posted a net profit after taxes and minority interest of ₹2,270 crore compared with ₹2,403 crore in the previous year. Total income stood at ₹14,396 crore for the year under review compared with ₹13,009 crore for the year ended March 31, 2015.

The financial performance was not comparable with that of the previous year because of the Gavis acquisition, the company said.

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