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Pharmaceuticals

Japanese drugmaker Santen forays into India

Ophthalmology specialist plans to roll out five drugs in five years

A woman undergoes an eye examination at a camp organised by a non-governmental organisation in New Delhi.   © Reuters

OSAKA -- Japan's Santen Pharmaceutical will enter the Indian market this year with glaucoma and dry-eye medicines, tapping demand in a country where economic growth has helped improve medical infrastructure.

The Osaka-based eye care specialist will roll out Tapros, a treatment for glaucoma and ocular hypertension, along with its Hyalein dry eye treatment in India this year. Both products have a solid track record in Japan and other markets. Santen plans to expand the lineup to five products in five years.

The company will send about 20 sales personnel to major cities such as Delhi and Mumbai to market the products to doctors. It plans to expand the marketing team to 100 or so.

Asian markets including China and India are a focal point of the company's medium-term business plan for the three years through fiscal 2020. Santen generated about 16% of its revenue in the region last fiscal year, more than anywhere else except Japan.

The company will face fierce competition in India from local rivals such as Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

But "the market's size and potential are on par with China's," said President Shigeo Taniuchi.

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