Friday, March 11, 2011

Merck's "New Way Forward" -- In India -- Very Encouraging

All the multinational pharma players agree -- the so-called BRICK geographies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, etc.) are where the 2012 to 2020 growth in profits will lie. Here is some of New Merck's thinking, in India -- via Rediff Business Online media, overnight:

. . . .[MSD India's] Managing Director K. G. Ananthakrishnan talks to Joe C Mathew on Merck India's plans to be among the top five players in the domestic market by 2015. . . .

RotaTeq comes to India five years after it was introduced in the US. Is this delay desirable?

Our objective is to launch all innovative products as soon as it gets launched elsewhere in the world. It should happen much faster now.

How strong is your Indian team today? Any plans to invest in manufacturing facilities, human resources in the near future?

The combined employee strength is a little over 2,000. After operational integration, we now have a diversified product portfolio of over 75 brands, of which 13 are already leading products in respective categories.

We will build on these strengths. As of now, we have 13 manufacturing partners who supply 60 per cent of our local medicine. We are evaluating the possibilities of outsourcing more products from our local (contract manufacturing) partners.

Merck was among the first global firms to disclose the financial relationships it has with doctors in the US. Do you think a similar transparency is required in India, too?

We are seriously considering this aspect to understand how to go about in India. As an industry, we have a definite role in disseminating scientific information.

However, there has to be a good balance to ensure that whatever is done is within the confinement of ethical practices. As a responsible corporate entity, we already adhere to all such codes of conduct. . . .

More and more frequently, we see evidence that incoming CEO Ken Frazier is both a visionary, and a 21st Century Pharma-Man. . . he clearly has the smarts and the resolve to greatly improve the New Merck -- on a global basis. We'll keep watch, now -- with a hopeful eye.

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