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Is it time for ‘One Pharma’?

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Dr Gopakumar G Nair, Chief Executive Officer, Gopakumar Nair Associates, elaborates about the scope for coming together as ‘One Industry,’ on a common forum

Dr Gopakumar G Nair

iN AN invitation for the Annual Day of a leading pharma industry association, the president of the association had mentioned the scope for coming together as ‘One Industry.’ If the current trend and evolving ambience (except for couple of hawks) is taken into account, one could qualify this for a possible outcome of ‘One Pharma’ in India.

The reasons for this are as follows:

  • Health and Innovation are common to the emerging Indian pharma sector. Indian generic pharma industry has recognised the need for innovation to move up the value chain. Many Indian pharma honchos are on the verge of breakthrough in NCEs. Japan has all along been a drug discovery location. However, Japanese companies needed global MNC support to take the molecules forward for commercialisation. Earlier, Ranbaxy and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories had been let down in similar collaborations.  However, Indian pharma has gained better knowledge and experience to negotiate and work together, foreseeing failure scenarios and planning and incorporating corrective measures in contracts. It is, therefore, a good time to reduce the disputes and plan for working together with ‘enhanced efficacy.’
  • Indian and global companies are teaming up for ethical marketing (as per news reports). ‘Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices’ is an ideal forum to test the waters of co-operation and collaboration. The nauseating scenario at the global level which exploits the patient population, calls for such a uniform code. India needs to move to adopt global practices in all fields to eliminate malpractices and to encourage good practices.
  • Even though India has been fighting the wrong interpretations of ‘counterfeits’, wherein the definitions included ‘generics’ and similar sounding brands, India cannot ignore the wrongdoers who try to pass off spurious and substandard illegally manufactured medicines, labelling them as those of reputed manufacturers. There is a common threat and challenge to be faced and resolved in this field as well.
  • The patent disputes are tapering off. In the post-2005 emerging product patent scenario, there were many infringement suits, majority on perceived threats of infringers, filed against Indian generic competitors. These suits have been dragging on and have now reached some conclusion or are under mediation and negotiations. Currently, more suits are emerging between Indian pharma companies. Soon, the futility of such litigations will dawn/are dawning on all pharma companies.  More voluntary licensing is happening in the market place (which should have commenced much early). In this field also, there is a silver lining for coming together, more than before.
  • The challenges faced by Indian as well as MNC pharma companies are increasingly being realised as common to both.  This gives added incentive to join hands and work together to make a ‘One Pharma’ forum for Indian pharma industry, compared to anytime before in the past.

It is hoped that this will also help the national image of pharma industry in coming years.

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