Of verdicts and choices

Of verdicts and choices

2007083101-7149889The latest round of the Glivec battle is being hailed as a victory of patients vs patents. However, various interpretations of the verdict are emerging. While NGOs stress that the ruling ensures that India remains the ‘pharmacy of the world’, a Novartis press release says that the Madras Court ‘defers the petition to the WTO to resolve the question on TRIPs compliance’. While Novartis says that it does not intend to pursue this issue with the WTO, the debate will surely continue as we await a decision on the second case.

Another battle brewing is the tussle between contract manufacturers in the excise free zones, various associations and the government. In a bid to stem the loss of revenue due to excise exemptions, the government may disqualify certain categories (like third party manufacturers). The associations are caught in the cross fire as they have members who chose to relocate to the excise exempt zones, as well as those who have stayed put. As our Cover Story points out, choosing sides was never so tricky!

These conflicts do not seem to have dampened the spirits of players in the sector. In fact, many lifescience companies plan to go public and tap the markets in the next year. As the pharma sector has its fair share of family-owned businesses, our Management Cover focuses on the makeover necessary to transform these companies and make them worthy of investor pride. Only goes to prove that Indian pharma today personifies the Chinese strategy master Sun Tzu’s edict that opportunities multiply as they are seized.

To round off this issue, we have a special packaging pullout, highlighting trends in pharma packaging. Reflecting the industry’s concern about counterfeit drugs, we showcase RFID, as a sure shot way to track and trace drugs if incorporated as a packaging element. Another segment sure to record high growth is clinical packaging, thanks to India’s growing reputation as a hub for clinical research.

Viveka Roychowdhury