Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld spoke to Sathyanarayanan, Associate Vice-President, Marketing of Group Pharmaceuticals Limited, Bangalore, to know more about the trends and challenges in digital dentistry market in India. Edited excerpts:
Why is digital dentistry using CAD/CAM so relevant today?
The global dental market is around $37 billion dollars, growing at the rate of 11%. The Indian market is almost 7000 Crores INR, and the growth is almost 14%.
When did you start this company and what was your journey like?
In dental products, there are two types of marketing: FMCG types of marketing and ethical marketing. In FMCG marketing, many multinational companies are producing the products like Colgate who has 55% of the market share, Hindustan Unilever Limited with 19% market share and Dabur with 15% market share. So, in ethical marketing, the pharmaceutical companies are involved and they promote the brands to dentists who then prescribe the brands. The ethical companies do not go to the consumer and sell their products, but doctors are prescribing for particular disorders, and the oral care market in prescription products is almost 550 Crores INR, which is growing at the rate of 8%. In India, there are 689 dental institutions and colleges, and more than 40,000 graduates are coming out every year. There are also 4,000 post-graduates coming out every year. However, if one looks at the ratio of dentist/patient in urban is 1/10000 whereas in rural India, the ratio is 1/1.5 lakhs.
So, still the main problem is in rural areas where dental awareness is not there, and people are not aware of how to manage their teeth. In the urban market, people are using mouthwashes, dental flosses etc. which are advanced but in the rural market, they are not using these advanced products but they are using toothpaste now which is the outcome of a slow transition from tooth powder. So, in research if one sees the advancement and other things in dentistry, the major problem of the bacteria or dental caries, is that 85% of Indians suffer from it and 79% of Indians suffer from periodontitis or gingival problems. So the main research areas has been in this segment for many decades.
Until the last decade, fluoride was the only material everyone was relying on to treat caries.
But slowly now, after finding out that there are so many cases, especially in states such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, lots of fluoride is found in drinking water and about 22% of the people who are consuming this water are suffering from fluorosis. So in fluorosis patients, fluoride is not given because fluoride is available in the water they are consuming. So research goes in such a way that how can a paste be produced without the deleterious effect of the fluoride which still has the same remineralization effect of fluoride or better.
Another point is that many diseases are associated with oral care problems like gingivitis. Gingivitis related to low birth rate. Gingivitis is leading to cardiac problems. Diabetes leads to gingival problems. All such correlations have been found recently. In the event of diabetes, due to the medicines taken, people suffer from dry mouth. So to produce something for the dry mouth and the mouth wash, and the toothpaste without fluoride and also in India the lifespan is increasing and the geriatric patients are increasing, so denture care is one of the main things the research is looking at.
Tell us more about Group Pharmaceuticals
Group Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is a Mumbai-based company. We have been marketing our products for the last 37 years. We started with some dental care products, but we also have other products in the health care segment, however our focus remains in the dental care segment. We have a world-class factory near Bangalore in Karnataka. This factory is WHO GMP certification and we have also received various awards and ISO certifications for it. Most of the companies are now manufacturing in our plant because our facility is so good. We have been marketing innovative products in the market, and the conventional products are being replaced by these innovative products. We are manufacturing a mouth wash for halitosis named FleshClor. We have also associated with BioMin technology, UK and we are manufacturing bioactive glass in which fluoride is incorporated. This is a BioMin technology, and it is been exported to other parts of the world. We also have collaboration with an Australian company and we are manufacturing Calcium Sucrose Phosphate, which does not have the fluoride but it re-mineralizes the teeth much better than fluoride and without any negative effects of fluoride. Thus, we are 5th in the prescription market with so many different products, and our ambition is to take the top spot soon for which we are working…