This blogpost is not about the mainstream Pharma media in India. It is more about the unsung side of the Pharma business. This blogpost is about a Hindi monthly "MEDICAL DARPAN".
Medical Darpan is a Hindi monthly tabloid published from Bulandshahar, a place in Meerut Dist. of Uttar Pradesh. Medical Darpan is straight and hard hitting. No fancy management jargon here. It reflects the raw unbridled spirit of entrepreneurship of Indians in Pharma business. No Kaizen, CRM, or US FDA terminologies. It is straight business talk. Trade, as it really is.
Consider some of the advertisements in the March 2008 issue:
1) Pentachem, A GMP revised schedule M and ISO 2001:2000 unit in Excise free zone, 1% CST zone. This company offers distributors on monopoly basis has a generic division 125 products, PCD (propaganda cum distribution division) or franchise division offers products in attractive packing, competitive pricing inclusive of promotional materials. Also undertakes contract manufacturing.
2) From Chickpet, Bangalore, Invision offers various products: tablets, capsules, syrup, sachet, dry syrup, injectable, ointment, lotion and IV fluids, over 400 products, for franchisee marketing (similar to PCD marketing).
3) Another very interesting ad without name of company states (however, the contact no. is given): Best deal for Pharma professionals, earn more with promising future by doing own business, a fast growing Pharma company with wide range of excise free top quality branded Pharma products - tablets, capsules, liquids, syrup, injectable, ointments, proteins supplements etc) with immense scope. Promotional materials like visual aid, literatures, catch covers (ie. of samples), reminders, visiting cards, order book (ie. the personal order book) etc are offered. "You reach breakeven point with Rs. 15000 approx, stockist price, per month by earning a profit of Rs. 9000/- - an average salary of MR, if you generate Rs. 50,000 per month you get a profit of Rs. 30,000 (approx.) per month after using 950 samples, and 10% bonus deals (ie. sales promotional offers) on all the products to the retailer."
There are many such advertisements in Medical Darpan soliciting contract manufacturing in excise free zones (even small batches with inventory of just Rs. 5000/-), franchisee marketing tie ups and PCD tie ups. Some of the other companies advertising are Ban Pharma (for Ayurvedics), Bionova Lifesciences of Bangalore for biotech formulations, Amaxy Laboratories of Chandigarh, Lenit Pharmaceuticals of Kangra (Himachal Pradesh), Auspi Medicaments of Delhi, Botons & Blues a part of Invision, Bangalore offering nutraceutical formulations containing hot demand extracts like biotin, lycopene, alphagalactosidase, grape seed extract, Gingko biloba extract etc; Magnus Biotech for antibiotics etc; Imparish Pharmaceuticals of Roorkee UP etc (many many more companies are there). There are many many more companies with biotech products, nutraceutical formulations, antibiotics, various types of formulations including mouthwashes, toothpastes, and gels, allopathic, ayurvedic, food, gym and body builder products, with marketers brand name and monopoly rights, and other latest molecules in Alu-Alu pack, injectables etc in excise free zones, and revised Sch. M. and cGMP manufacturing plants.
This is the market that is unsung but very vibrant - away from the media glare of Economic Times, Business Standard, Financial Express, Express Pharma Pulse, and Chronicle Pharmabiz. But this market is well connected through Medical Darpan and other such media. This vibrant market is not known to many of the top executives of big Pharma companies nor does Medical Darpan reach them. Medical Darpan is not a fancy tabloid, it is raw business. This market reflected by Medical Darpan is not mapped by ORG. Consequently, many top executives do not even know the names of these companies. But their activities are taking Pharma products to the nook and corner of the country, reaching out to the far flung interior and micro interior based RMPs. Healthcare - Pharma business is in full swing.
How do these franchisee and PCD companies succeed despite the might of the Pharma biggies?
Simple it is CRM in action. It is empowerment in practice. It is entrepreneurship in full swing. It is a bottom-up marketing strategy model at work. Let us suppose a MR of a STANDARD COMPANY goes for work. What does he do? He implements the company strategy - meets 10 to 12 doctors, details, samples, gifts, and negotiates some deals based on the guidelines of the company. Does personal order booking at the retailers as per company guidelines. What does the PCD MR do? The PCD MR is the empowered MR. His goals are clear. His resources and limitations are well known to him. This MR has complete knowledge of the profile of the doctor. He services the doctor based on the needs of the doctor, not as per any strategy or guidelines of the company. Thus, the PCD MR can strike better. If the PCD MR visits a clinic and sees a fan not working in the clinic, he gets the fan repaired on the spot. The standard company MR does not have the flexibility based on the values, ethics, and practices of the company. Thus, the PCD MR will win many battles - the standard MR may win the war - but the PCD MR is satisfied with the spoils of winning his battles. The PCD MR for obvious reasons, has a higher sense of ownership in his marketing activities. And there are many such PCD MR operators in the market, they expand the market, nibble at the big Pharma market share, and are the unrecognized forces in the big picture. But they matter. Their market is not accurately mapped. So the size is anybody's guess. Indian Pharma market has brand clutter, generic generic clutter, commodity chatter ...
Consider this: my friend's acquaintance - basically a young engineer who is in to consultancy, training and development in the IT and ITES field, has with his friends floated a small company Madhuban Naturals that is now manufacturing and marketing herbal singles ie. plain Ashawagandha extract, Shatavari extract etc in capsules. Their USP (unique selling preposition) is pomegranate fruit powder extract in capsule form. There must be many such Madhubans in India. Away from the glare of the top media and big companies. That is the unmapped market of healthcare and Pharma India.
I asked such a PCD MR how he sells say, diclofenac in the face of aceclofenac. His answer was interesting. "What diclofenac does is reduce pain and swelling, so does aceclofenac. Some advantages may be there with aceclofenac. But diclofenac does not have such awful disadvantages that it will be discarded by the doctor. So generic diclofenac will continue to sell, the doctor will not replace all his diclofenac prescriptions in favor of aceclofenac. It is ultimately rates (ie. price and margin to retailer and dispensing doctor) and other benefits to the prescribing or dispensing doctor that matter." So that is the bottom line.
Long live Indian entrepreneurship. I dedicate this blogpost to Indian entrepreneurship. Thanks for reading this blogpost, please do read other blogposts, by scrolling down and clicking on 'older posts' when required.