Saturday, January 19, 2008

Training - a transformational force

It is long heralded that people in an organization make the difference, and more so now... in the digital era where knowledge is free (like Rabindranath Tagore has said in his poem Where the mind is without fear), and in a globalized economy where in free markets raise people value...

One of the interesting anecdotes in MR field lore is given below:

In Mysore, in the late 90s, three MRs would combat each other for market shares: Mr. Girish Damle promoting Brufen (from Boots, now Abbot), Mr. Vivek Balse promoting Dolonex (Pfizer) and Mr. P promoting Voveran (Aventis then Ciba Geigy). All were titans in the field.

Once, Mr. P met a doctor, promoted Voveran intensively using a clinical study that established Voveran as the only NSAID that has spasmolytic effect. The doctor was convinced and excited too.

The same day afternoon, Mr. Vivek met the doctor. Before Vivek could promote Dolonex, the good doctor very forcefully put across the same points about Voveran that were detailed by Mr. P. He wanted Vivek to basically surrender and accept the superiority of Voveran over Dolonex.

Vivek paused, then forcefully said, “Dr., in every spasmodic pain please prescribe Voveran and in every other pain please prescribe Dolonex.”

The doctor was stunned. You see, if a doctor gets around 10 patients complaining of pain, only 2 will have spasmodic pain. Further, in such patients there are other preferred spasmolytics. So in effect, Vivek had taken commitment for Dolonex for maximum prescription mileage. The doctor was amazed with Vivek’s response, got up and shook hands with Vivek, and said “That is why Pfizer is Pfizer!”

Mind you, Mr. Paremeshvaran is himself a legendary MR of then Ciba Geigy who served in Mysore. In fact, here is a true incident that reflects the scholarship and communication skill of Mr. Paremeshwaran (a B Pharma of yesteryears):

Mr. Parameshwaran was doing his regular work in Mysore Medical College, Mysore and there in he happened to stand and detail to a group of postgraduate students. Just then, while he was detailing Voveran, a Professor walked in and asked "What was happening?" in a loud and authoritative tone. Mr. Parameshwaran meekly replied, "I am detailing Voveran to your students". The Prof. said to the post graduate students:"Don't you know who he is?" "He is Mr. Paremeshwaran...students please stand up and Mr. Paremeshwaran please sit and detail to them." This true incident recaptulates the respect that Mr. Parameshwaran commanded in the medical community of Mysore as a MR.

In fact, with all humility I add, that my father, Late Mr. Suresh G Chiplunkar, who worked with Wyeth too commanded a lot of regard, respect, and affection in the MR and medical circles at Mysore for his hard work and intelligence.

Once it so happened that I accompanied my couzin to a computer school to enquire about computer courses. Before answering the query the MICE institute counselor and instructor looked at me and asked who I was. I introduced myself, and listening to my surname he inquired if I was related to Mr. Suresh G Chiplunkar. I replied that I was his son. He respectfully recollected an incident, wherein it so happened that the instructor's wife while driving her moped was hit by a bus. And she was lying unconscious on the road. My father who was going around on his scooter for visiting doctors, saw this incident. He immediately organized for transporting the unconscious lady to K R Hospital, Sayyaji Rao road, Mysore, and using his contacts ensured that the lady was treated promptly. My father afterwards without even revealing his identity went on with his field work. Later on, the instructor came to know the complete story, and about my father's identity and help, through a nurse. The instructor gratefully remembered this incident and my father.

MRs can have a good hold over the medical profession through their expertise and referral power.

Training brings to the fore this confidence and the blooming of the latent expertise and referral power of every MR.

Referral power and expertise power are the qualities of a person that make a difference in the field and for business results - these qualities can be strengthened and built up through training.

I got the above image from HERE.

I dedicate this blogpost with respect to my late father Mr. Suresh G Chiplunkar, (my dad passed away on Jan 27th, 1996), Mr. Vivek Balse, Mr. Paremeshwaran, Mr. Girish Damle, and other stalwart MRs of Mysore and Bangalore (like Mr.Tulasibabu, Mr. Venkatesh, Mr. Nanda Bapat etc) who were my father's colleagues/friends and have seen me from my childhood days. My respects to all of them.

Thanks for reading this blogpost, please do scroll down and read other blogposts.


Sunil S Chiplunkar said...

My good friend Dr. Krishnamurthy of Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Science had this to say (I put forth his comment with due thanks and regards to Dr. Bhat):

Dear Sunil,
it is a good article I read in recent times. I think all of us pharma professionals have to propegate this message and make our fellow reps feel proud of their chosen or otherwise field. Without them I think the pharma sector would not have reached where it is today. Good work and keep it up.
I also pay my sincere and humble respect to your father with whom I had good interaction during good old days.

Light Ray said...

Dear Sunil,

We have been following your articles for some time and they are an interesting read.

Can you please send us your contact mail id. We would like to get in touch with you.

MY mail id is


Jeremy said...

Very interesting article regarding the pharmaceutical industry and
healthcare lean training. Keep up the good work!

Sunil S Chiplunkar said...

Thnks Jeremy for your encouraging words.