Setting its sights onto the Rs7.20bn market for smoking cessation products or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, the Rs7bn Elder Pharmaceuticals Ltd has entered into an exclusive manufacturing tie-up with M/s Gelnova Laboratories of Navi Mumbai to introduce for the first time in world NRT products in pastille form. Pastilles are hard jelly like preparation in cube shape which is a mixture of glycerin and gelatin to which medicament is added. Pastilles release active substance in a finely distributed way that gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
Launched on World No Tobacco Day (31st May 2010) under the brand name of Elder NRT, the product is a joint collaborative effort of Elder Pharma’s R & D division and Gelnova.
Says Alok Saxena, Director, Elder Pharmaceuticals Ltd, “A few years back we were marketing Nulife chewing gums in the same business category belonging to Ceejay Health Care Limited through the ethical route and found the acceptance of NRT products growing – slowly but steadily - in India.” Presently smoking cessation products come in a variety of delivery modes like transdermal patches, chewing gums, inhalers, nasal sprays and lozenges. Leading companies in India in this segment are Sun Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Cipla and GSK.
NRT is used for cessation of cancer-causing habit of tobacco chewing (esp. gutkha) and tobacco smoking (cigarettes and bidis). NRTs are engineered to work on the brain and the nervous system to curb nicotine dependence. NRT supplies controlled levels of nicotine that allow one to gradually reduce intake of tobacco.
NRT will be promoted through medical practitioners, chest physicians and dentists and the company expects to achieve a sales turnover of about Rs180-200mn from this product by the end of the third year of launch. NRT Pastilles, with state-of-the art, patented technology have been launched in three strengths viz. NRT -1mg, NRT – 2mg and NRT- 4 mg. NRT Pastilles come in two flavors – Mint flavor for Tobacco smoker and Pan Masala flavor for Tobacco chewer.
NRT Pastilles are distinctly superior to conventional products as the primary material for pastilles comes from natural sources and use no preservatives and are sugar-free. NRT is also suited for persons on move as NRT Pastilles do not need water to be taken simultaneously. NRT Pastilles retain the flavor for longer time than conventional products. It takes around 30-40 minutes for the pastille to dissolve totally in the mouth.
Globally, US$1.6bn worth of smoking cessation products were prescribed during 2009. Apprx. 6 million people die each year worldwide because of smoking and tobacco related diseases, according to the World Health Organization. One billion men and about 250mn women use tobacco every day around the world. In India, tobacco use causes nearly 40% of all health problems and 50% of all cancers. Nearly 17% of students in India, aged 15 and under, use some form of tobacco, mainly cigarettes, according to a survey conducted by the World Health Organization.
Adds Saxena, “ We estimate the market size for NRT products to be about Rs7.20bn of which the prescription based segment should be worth about Rs2bn and the balance comprising of non-prescription, OTC (Over the Counter) products which are also sold through unorganized sales channels like paan shops etc."