‘Strassenburg Pharma to set up unit in tax free zone’

‘Strassenburg Pharma to set up unit in tax free zone’

Deepnath Roy Chowdhury, Vice-President (Eastern Region), IDMA and Managing Director, Strassenburg Pharmaceuticals spoke to Express Pharma about the current state of Bengal pharma industry and the future plans of the company. Excerpts…

What are the key trends that will shape the Indian pharma industry in the next decade?

The Indian domestic formulation industry has grown by approximately 14 percent per annum over the last six years to reach $8 billion in 2007-08, a growth rate much higher than that of the global pharma market as a whole. The market is expected to continue its robust growth touching $21billion by the year 2015. At the same time exports (bulk drug and formulation) are projected to grow from the existing $8 billion to $25 billion by the year 2015. Thus the growth prospects are stupendous.

In the coming years, the chronic disease segment will drive the domestic formulation industry demand. Branded generics will definitely continue to dominate but patent-protected products are likely to constitute a reasonable percentage of the market. The sensitive subject of pricing will gain more importance and cost benefits are expected to shift from producers to consumers resulting in lower margin.

What are your observations about the Bengal pharma Industry?

Though West Bengal constitutes around nine percent of the ‘All India market’ it hardly contributes 1.5 percent in terms of production value. However, on the positive side a change has taken place in the attitude and mindset of the industry and investments are being made towards creation of appropriate physical infrastructure and marketing is also beginning to get the attention that it deserves.

As the Head of IDMA, Eastern region what are your suggestions to the pharma producers of the region?

Amidst all the uncertainties the future of the national pharma industry holds great potential. In the changed scenario we need to reorient our strategies. We will have to strengthen our marketing efforts, introduce new products and establish brands. Only then can we compete in the market.

What are the key strengths of Bengal as a pharma investment destination?

In this industry competitiveness is powered by knowledge and West Bengal offers abundant expertise through its large highly educated talent pool. Also there is stability in the overall law and order situation in the state and the administration sincerely wants to promote industrialisation in Bengal.

How is Strassenburg Pharma placed in the pharma map of Bengal?

Strassenburg has a state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in the outskirts of Kolkata. It also has plans to set up another unit in one of the ‘Income-Tax Free Zones’ in the country for catering to the domestic market.

We strongly believe in long-term success through brand establishment and accordingly we have always focused on the prescription market and are not dependant on Government institution business.

Please tell us about the company’s products/therapeutic areas.

We are present in the gastrointestinal, gynaecological and peadiatric segments and are actively exploring a foray into one or more of the chronic segments.

What are your plans for the export market?

We have definite plans and have made a very small beginning. We would be interested in the semi-regulated markets of Africa, East Asian countries and CIS countries where WHO GMP compliance is adequate for product registration. Our aim is to generate 10 percent of our total revenues from exports within the coming three years.

What are your future plans with respect to investments and expansions?

Since we have upgraded our manufacturing facility to a reasonable standard we would now like to focus and deploy our resources in terms of time, money and energy on expanding the market through a larger field force who will promote more number of products in a wider geographical area.

We have diversified and set up an umbilical cord blood stem cell banking facility in a joint venture with Cordlife, Singapore. We hope this futuristic knowledge based venture will help us to keep pace with the changing needs of the pharma industry.