KARACHI: New Zealand based AFT Pharmaceuticals has signed licensing agreements for its Maxigesic pain relief medication in Pakistan, an official said.
AFT’s agreement in Pakistan, which has a total analgesic market of $184 million, is with Excel Laboratories.
“AFT expects first sales of Maxigesic in Pakistan in 2022 and are still dependent on securing regulatory approvals,” the official said.
According to a document, the agreement represents further significant steps in AFT’s strategy to drive the commercialisation of its patented Maxigesic pain relief medicine platform around the world.
“The agreements in Pakistan and Vietnam cover Maxigesic IV and are aligned with the company’s determination to build a strong distributor network across Asia. With a combined population of almost 300 million and a combined analgesic market of $492 million, Pakistan and Vietnam represent great potential for Maxigesic IV”.
The agreements follow the registration of Maxigesic IV by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia and Medsafe in New Zealand. These organisations are treated as reference regulators for many markets in South East Asia and the Middle East.
According to a report issued by Euromonitor International issued in October 2019, the ongoing development of the self-medication trend will be a key contributor to growth in analgesics. “Pakistani consumers are increasingly seeking to avoid seeing a doctor unless symptoms are serious, as they become more comfortable with the idea of self-medicating, particularly if products have been recommended by pharmacists,” the report noted.
The growing demand for OTC analgesics is expected to stimulate increasing investment in product innovation and marketing activity in the category. Established brands are expected to see the introduction of extensions targeting particular consumer groups and usage occasions, including the launch of novel formats such as sprays and gels.
The report noted foreign multinational players remained dominant in analgesics. Players such as GSK Consumer Healthcare, Abbott Laboratories and Reckitt Benckiser benefit from a long-standing presence in the market and high levels of consumer brand awareness.
In order to build a presence in the face of intense competition from major multinationals, domestic companies are likely to focus on the development of generic products that compete primarily in terms of price.
While domestic players focus on pricing, the major international analgesics brands seek to differentiate themselves through investment in marketing activity, including mass media advertising on TV and radio, as well as in-store activities. Such marketing support helped GSK Consumer Healthcare’s market-leading Panadol, Abbott Laboratories’ Arinac and Brufen, and Reckitt Benckiser’s Disprin to gain market share.