Marketing – Express Pharma Pulse

Developmental inputs for quality outputs

In the industrial world, pharmaceutical industry enjoys a special position as high expectations are associated with it.

This industry that has engaged itself in taking care of the health of the people is aptly described as ‘health care’ industry. Its relentless R&D efforts have resulted in the development of various molecules and formulations for the treatment of dreadful diseases and vaccines for the prevention of diseases. As a result its contribution to the expectancy and the quality of life has been significant.

Current Scenario Today like any other industry, Indian pharmaceutical industry is also subject to the economic upheaval. It has shown a slow growth rate for the last two years. With the exception of a few, the performance of many companies is far below the plans.

With the passage of time, the competition has increased manifolds. In fact it has assumed a stature of unusual proportion. Today, there are as many as 23,000 players and nearly 85,000 brands are jostling with each other in the market. As a result, in every therapeutic segment, the markets are fragmented.

At the same time the customers are becoming increasingly conscious of their rights. There is growing tendency to have a departure from the traditional path of brand loyalty. Customers continue to take a decision in favour of a product where the services are qualitatively superior and alluring in nature. As a result there is no stability of customers on a particular brand.

Similarly, the people within the organisations are becoming increasingly conscious of their needs, hopes and aspirations in life. There is a lack of proper understanding about the changing business environment. The mergers, acquisitions, take overs and downsizing through VRS etc are contributing to the misperceptions. As a result the entire business environment has become more dynamic in nature.

The post-GATT era The post GATT era will be highly demanding not only in terms of quality of products but, the quality in every aspect. Multinational companies will have opportunity to dominate. In that case, it is apparent that the future will belong to those, who belong to the organised sector. The organised sector gives lot of emphasis on having a well-defined infrastructure, systematic, professional approaches and being constantly in the pursuit of up-gradation of standards in all the areas of operation.

In this era even the trade will be well organised. The entire distribution network and retail chain will have a new look to provide better quality of customer services. In other words, the entire system will get evolved and developed to match the global standards.

Taking into consideration all these facts it becomes necessary to undertake certain measures to consolidate and initiate the process of reforms.

Regulatory Support
The recent Union Budget for the year 2001 – 2002 has straight away paved a way to the liberalisation of the economy. The members of the pharmaceutical industry (manufacturers and producers of pharmaceutical products) have played an excellent role of influencing government’s decision for providing more facilities to the health care industry of the nation.

In fact reduction of DPCO span is a clear reflection of application of liberalised policy to the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, this Union Budget will – encourage the expenditure on R&D efforts- stimulate companies to look at patenting as an opportunity to operate effectively in the post GATT regime – provide an opportunity to penetrate in the developed markets. Now it is up to the members of the industry to capitalise on this opportunity and become globally competitive.

It is necessary to realise that for the last fifty years we have lived in a protected economy. That has provided an environment to develop a psyche that continues to seek protection, security and competition of a low profile.
Now we are moving into liberalised economy, where the opportunities are enormous but demands are very high. Therefore it becomes essential to provide an environment within the organisation at all levels to develop a proper ‘mind-set’ to operate in the competitive environment with high standards of performance. For which it is necessary to help them ‘orient and re-orient’ themselves through training and developmental inputs on a continual basis.

This will result in an improvement in the quality of marketing efforts which will pave a way for the realisation of every possible opportunity. Consequently there will be constant innovations and effective implementation of plans and programmes with a strong purpose of staying ahead of competition. Secondly, even if the organisation chooses to concentrate on its ‘core competence’ it becomes necessary to provide developmental inputs periodically at the level of all operating people to ensure sustenance of core competence.

When we look at the Union Budget for the year 2001 – 2002 it also provides more outlays for education. In the business world ‘B -Education’ within the organisation is becoming indispensable for a growth and development. Indeed, this will be a major step towards meeting challenges.

(Dilip G Deshmukh is a Mumbai based marketing consultant)