Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lord Balaji in Indian Pharma

India is a land of a multitude of Gods. One of the very popular deities is Lord Balaji or Lord Venkateshwara of the Tirumala hills. Routinely Indians make their way to the seven hills, and seek the grace of Lord Venkateshwara for temporal and spiritual gains. In fact, many successful business people in India make Lord Balaji a silent partner, and they donate a predetermined percentage of the profits in the hundi or offering box at the Tirumala temple of Lord Balaji. So what does Lord Balaji have to do with Indian Pharma?

The exciting new drug (Balaglitazone from Dr. Reddy Labs) being developed for diabetes management is named after Lord Balaji.

Balaglitazone is a new drug candidate that is undergoing phase III multi centric clinical trials. Balaglitazone is being developed for the management of type II diabetes. The goal is to market this drug to around 70% of the globe in 2011. Phase III is a significant achievement in the clinical development of the drug; it means that after completion of this clinical study, and the two year carcinogenicity testing of this drug, that is going on, marketing can be taken up. I wonder what marketing plans are being cooked up for this drug. One can expect something striking after all the success of balaglitazone, will be hailed as the coming of a new age in the Indian Pharma Industry.

The success of balaglitazone will be closely watched by international and national Pharma giants. Its success will provide encouragement to the ongoing drug discovery programs of companies like Sun Pharma, Glenmark, Ranbaxy and others.

If balaglitazone becomes a success one can expect that clinical research activities in India will get a major fillip.

Balaglitazone's success will cause a multiplier effect in the confidence of Indian researchers to produce new drugs.

Inventing is one part of the game, marketing is another cup of tea

It is no doubt, that inventing a new drug is a significant milestone in the Indian Pharma industry, however, making it a winner in the market, is another cup of tea. For eg., recollect that the first drug to be invented was a neuromuscular junction blocker chandominium sulphate (named after Chandigarh), which is no where in sight now, Ranbaxy tried to commercialize the product with little success. Similarly, Cipla had tried to make the gugulipids a big product, it is nowhere in sight.

Take a leaf from the launch of Tata Nano

The launch of the motor car Tata Nano was a huge success (yes, it is still not available in the market, come Oct 2008, Tata Nano will be available in India). The Tata Nano launch was memorable for the effective media management and creating a positive buzz ie. positive word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth is critical in the launch phase. Any negative word-of-mouth at the launch phase, will affect the product establishment. For eg., Exubera was a victim of negative acceptance and disheartening word-of-mouth. In the age of web 2.0 and internet, word gets around faster... a metaanalysis study of rosiglitazone (another glitazone a class to which, balaglitazone too belongs) too has affected the Rx generation of this product. Tata Nano was fantastic in media management, creating the best word-of-mouth - after all, the first impression is the best impression. These skills in creating the right first impact will be crucial for balaglitazone's success.

What needs to be understood
is that in the modern e-age, what counts is not just the confident acceptance by the opinion builder doctors or prescriptions in favor of a product, but the right word-of-mouth in society and in the medical community as a whole. The buzz is equally important. The target audience for the marketing communication activity for balaglitazone is not just the target prescribers, but all other stakeholders in the healthcare system - the pharmacists, para medical staff, health counsellors, diabetes bloggers, and health media - as they have a considerable influence on the adoption of drugs and therapies. The internet has lowered the power that prescribers' wield over the patient community. Furthermore, pharmacovigilance has gained new importance. All these need to be maintained in mind while chalking out the MARKETING COMMUNICATION STRATEGIC PLAN.

The crucial link between market success and balaglitazone will be the MARKETING COMMUNICATION PLAN. It will be interesting how DRL will evolve the marketing communication plan and who the participants will be in putting together the elements of the marketing communication plan for balaglitazone.

This is vital since a lot depends on the marketing success of balaglitazone. After all it is the confidence of the entire nation's Pharma industry that is at stake.

End quote:

“Any communication or marketing professional needs cross-cultural research and communication skills to be able to succeed in the future.”
Mary Tharp

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

Many thnks for reading this blogpost, please do scroll down and read all other blogposts, including by clicking on OLDER POSTS. I got the above picture from HERE.


DR. RANGESH said...

Dear Mr. Chiplunkar,
It is really fascinating to know the story behind naming the new drug discovered. However the sad story of some of them not taking off, hope that by grace of the Lord Balaji this molecule may make a big hit.
Thanks for the wonderful link to this naming process.
Dr. Rangesh.

Sunil S Chiplunkar said...

Many thanks for visiting this blogspot, it is heartwarming to read your comment. Thnks once again, Sir.