The decade ahead

The decade ahead

I start this year’s anniversary editorial with the quote with which I ended last year’s anniversary editorial: fortes fortuna adiuvat; ie. fortune favours the brave and the bold. 2009 was a year of fluctuating financial fortunes and even the brave and the bold had their rock bottom moments. But year end saw a cautious revival of hope and a few ‘green shoots’ take root and grow.

Like last year’s Anniversary special issue, we hoped to feature more ‘heroes’ in this year’s anniversary issue, but somehow, the mood is still subdued, waiting for the revival to be more permanent and for growth to settle into a faster upward clip.

The future belongs to the survivors, who learnt from the hard lessons of last year. The savviest global players used the recession to prune costs, re-think capital expenditure and yes, cut ‘flab’. The industry proved that it was not exactly recession proof, and some Indian CRAMS players did face cancelled orders, which in turn forced them to shelve expansion plans in the face of uncertain future demand.

So this year’s Anniversary issue is both a prognosis and diagnosis of what will challenge Indian pharma players in 2010. While big pharma’s pain may well be Indian pharma’s gain, contributors to our Special Business Prognosis Section section point out that complacency will be the death knell for players who cannot read market moves. Stock market gurus predict more action on the collaboration front, while the allied sector pushes for ‘magic bullets’ to take the industry to the next level.

Our Management section moves away from business aspects to dissecting key policy and strategy issues which will set the agenda for pharma CEOs in 2010: R&D pipeline strategies, healthcare reforms, the patients vs patents debate and trying to dovetail commercial pursuits with the larger goal of increasing access to medicines. Our contributors put forth some provocative ideas (like providing pharmacy colleges with mobile vans stocked with medicines for distribution in the rural hinterland, solving the access problem as well as giving students practical experience) but we hope it gives readers enough food for thought.

Viveka Roychowdhury