Pfizer Unit Launches Vitamin Complex In India; U.S. Parent Pushes New Subsidiary

MUMBAI: India's Pfizer Ltd. will help its partner Omni-Protech Drugs Pvt. Ltd. in launching a new variant of its vitamin B complex brand Becosule called "Becosule plus with Biotin advantage," according to the company. The product will be priced around 11 rupees (US25 cents) for a strip of 10 capsules. Pfizer has licensed the manufacturing of Becosules to Omni-Protech while retaining marketing rights. Pfizer Ltd. is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Pfizer Inc., which has submitted an application to India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to set up a fully owned subsidiary in the country. That subsidiary would concentrate on R&D, sourcing of bulk drugs for Pfizer worldwide, and licensing proprietary technology and products to market in India. According to recent newspaper reports, minority shareholders of Pfizer Ltd. have asked the FIPB deny permission to Pfizer Inc. to set up a wholly owned subsidiary as it will adversely affect the shareholders of Pfizer Ltd., of which Pfizer Inc. is a partial owner. Meanwhile, Becosule was brought under price control by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) in the last week of June. The NPPA had cut the price to 7.90 rupees per strip of 10 capsule from 11.53 rupees, an effective drop of 31.5%. According to the Pfizer spokesperson, the company has submitted a review application on the grounds that Becosules is a far superior product and cannot be classified as an ordinary vitamin B product.

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