GSK sinks Advair prices to fend off Cipla copycat in India

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) isn't just going to sit back and let Cipla's generic stomp all over asthma blockbuster Advair--known as Seretide outside the U.S.--in India. It's turning to a strategy it's used elsewhere to help its aging med compete, and that's price-cutting.

The pharma giant has halved the prices for the respiratory behemoth in the country to match that of Cipla's knockoff, Sereflo. And others may alter their prices accordingly, The Economic Times reports.

Discounting is nothing new for the British company, which has sunk prices dramatically in the U.S. in order to win favor with stateside payers. With rivals AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Merck ($MRK) benefiting from Advair's formulary exclusion at Express Scripts ($ESRX) last year, GSK sat down to negotiate--and worked its way onto the PBM's good side for 2015.

Problem is, though, the low prices have hurt U.S. sales--adding to the pain the company is already feeling from generic competition elsewhere around the globe. Stateside Advair sales plunged 17% in Q2 on payer pressure, and GSK has cautioned that figure will only get worse once U.S. generics finally hit the scene.

Meanwhile, even with the discount, Glaxo has a lot of ground to make up in India. Cipla boasts a 65% piece of the pie, while Lupin is far behind in second place and GSK sits at No. 3 with 16%, the Times notes.

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