Budget 2018: Pharma Companies Want A Push On Research, Innovation

The government needs to seriously re-think the ways to promote research and innovation in the country, especially within the Indian pharmaceutical industry. This seems to be coming across as a clear message from the various stakeholders in the Indian pharmaceutical industry.

Perhaps, some of it has to do with the mood within the industry driven by the changing market dynamics in the two most important markets – the US and India, and the fact that most recent budgets have been largely disappointing for the sector.

Many companies, with some leading players, are already coping with challenges around price erosion in generics, erosion of base business resulting from new competition and buyer consolidation in their biggest global market, the US. They clearly see the writing on the wall: Moving up the value chain in terms of developing niche, hard to replicate products, is the only way out and are gearing up for that, with some already moving ahead in this journey.

This is one reason why most that Business Today spoke to were unanimous in picking research and innovation as the top item on the list of priorities for the sector. But then, given that research spending in the pharmaceutical industry is a risky proposition, especially in areas of drug discovery and innovation, fiscal incentives could provide the necessary fillip.

For instance, it is very likely that even after spending 10 years investing in research, the product may finally not get a regulatory approval. “If you want to promote innovation then incentivize investments into research and innovation. This could be done either by government offering a matching grant to a private enterprise or by extending a tax credit,” says D G Shah, secretary-general at the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, that has leading Indian pharma companies as its members.

He feels the tax credit could be spread over a period of two to three years also. This backed by some procedural simplifications, say around ease in filing of patents, could go a long way in encouraging research, he feels hoping the Union Budget would address this issue.

In fact, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director, Biocon, goes a step further and says, if India needs to move the needle with respect to its goals around Making in India and carving out a niche for itself globally, it needs to support research and innovation.

“India needs to spend at 2 to 3 percent of GDP on science and research as against the 0.69 percent at present,” she says.
According to a recent report by the department of science and technology, India’s gross expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP for the last couple of years has been at around 0.69 percent.

But then, if funds are an issue, her suggestion: perhaps the government could look at deploying collections made from the R&D cess. There are enough media reports on the over Rs 7,000 crore that have have been collected by way of R&D cess.

This is crucial, she feels and points to a recent report by the European Commission which says that if you increase R&D investment by 10 percent in public research institutions, it grows the GDP by 1 percent. This coupled with a focus on meritocracy could go a long way in the Indian context, she feels.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and others in the pharma industry, while not in favour of the government move towards gradually doing away with the weighted deduction on R&D for the private sector, want its scope expanded to all areas connected with R&D.

This is despite the government’s roadmap that seems to favour a move towards a system where there is a reduced corporate tax rate with all the deductions eliminated, apparently to make it all simple.

“The budget should ensure that the weighted deduction on R&D is brought back (from 150 percent) to 200 percent and its scope expanded to cover various nuances of R&D such as in-house intangible asset development, expenditure on R&D facility, clinical trials by CROs (contract research organisations),” says Kedar Upadhye, Global Chief Financial Officer at Cipla, a global major pharma player with significant presence in the Indian market.

That apart, there is also an expectation that perhaps the budget would look at clearing some of the issues around GST payment, especially in cases where medicines cannot be sold, either on account of being damaged or for crossing their expiry date.

This article originally appeared in Business Today

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A first in Morocco: CIPLA MAROC opens an inhaler manufacturing plant in the Rabat region for an investment of 60 MDH

Inaugurated by MM. Anas Doukali and MM. Moulay Hafid Elalamy, the plant will produce 1.5 million metered-dose inhalers annually

Rabat, Morocco, October 13, 2018: Cipla Maroc, subsidiary of the leading global pharmaceutical company Cipla Ltd, today announced the official opening of its manufacturing plant for metered-dose inhalers in Ain Aouda in the Rabat region.

A total of 60 million dirhams have been invested in this project. This is the first time that an industrial unit of this kind has opened in the Country.

The ceremony took place in the presence of Mr. Anas Doukkali, Minister of Health, Dr. Y.K. Hamied – Non Executive Chairman of Cipla, Mr Niravkumar B Sutariya, Second Secretary, Embassy of India in Morocco, Mr. Christos Kartalis – Executive Vice President- Emerging Markets and Europe of Cipla, Mr. Ali Sedrati – General Manager of Pharmaceutical Institute & Mr. Ayman Cheikh Lahlou – General Manager of Cooper Pharma, as well as representatives of local authorities and the national pharmaceutical industry.

Spread over a total area of 4,000 square meters, the Cipla Maroc plant offers an annual production capacity of 1.5 million HFA metered-dose inhalers. Around fifteen references will be manufactured on the site, and eleven will be distributed for the first time in Morocco.

The Cipla Maroc industrial unit is built as per the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as European and American regulatory authorities. The facility received regulatory approval from the General Secretary of Govt on 18th of June 2018.

“We are proud of this addition to our manufacturing footprint, a first for the region. With this, we not only strengthen our manufacturing, but also ties between Morocco and Cipla. This factory will leverage Cipla’s well known expertise and experience in the respiratory inhalation segment to help patients in Morocco and the neighbouring regions in keeping with our purpose of Caring for life.”

Christos Kartalis – Executive Vice President- Emerging Markets and Europe of Cipla Said

“Cipla, Phi and Cooper have made a smart distinctive investment in Morocco in the inhaler technology that is a first for the country and region. This would allow to reduce significantly our imports of this technology and it would improve our value added product’s offer for the exports markets”

Mr. Ali Sedrati – General Manager of Pharmaceutical Institute & Mr. Ayman Cheikh Lahlou – General Manager of Cooper Pharma added:

About Cipla Maroc:

Founded in 2015, Cipla Maroc is a joint-venture between the Cipla Ltd, headquartered in Mumbai (India), and its Moroccan partners Pharmaceutical Institute and Cooper Pharma It focuses on the production and marketing of pharmaceutical products of the highest quality.

About Pharmaceutical Institute

Establised in 1988, The Pharmaceutical Institute (PHI) is a national laboratory with Multinational standards. It manufactures its own range of generic medicines especially for chronic diseases and cancers in a concern for universal access with the best quality price/ratio.

About Cooper Pharma

Cooper Pharma has been established in Morocco sin 1933. Its products portfolio cover most of the key therapeutic classes through branded generics, in-licensed innovative products and OTC. The geographical reach covers Morocco, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa, GCC countries and Eastern Europe through a network of 8 manufacturing plants operated on its own or through JVs. Cooper Pharma has been approved in 2008 by the European authorities, in 2011 by the Saudi FDA and by several other health authorities”.

About Cipla Ltd:

Established in 1935, Cipla is a global pharmaceutical company focused on agile and sustainable growth, complex generics, and deepening portfolio in our home markets of India, South Africa, North America, and key regulated and emerging markets. Our strengths in the respiratory, anti-retroviral, urology, cardiology and CNS segments are well-known. Our 44 manufacturing sites around the world produce 50+ dosage forms and 1,500+ products using cutting-edge technology platforms to cater to our 80+ markets. Cipla is ranked 3rd largest in pharma in India (IQVIA MAT Mar’18), 4th largest in the pharma private market in South Africa (IQVIA MAT Jun’18), and is among the most dispensed generic players in the US. For over eight decades, making a difference to patients has inspired every aspect of Cipla’s work. Our paradigm-changing offer of a triple anti-retroviral therapy in HIV/AIDS at less than a dollar a day in Africa in 2001 is widely acknowledged as having contributed to bringing inclusiveness, accessibility and affordability to the centre of the movement. A responsible corporate citizen, Cipla’s humanitarian approach to healthcare in pursuit of its purpose of ‘Caring for Life’ and deep-rooted community links wherever it is present make it a partner of choice to global health bodies, peers and all stakeholders.


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Child malaria deaths dramatically cut by suppository drug, shows Zambia study

Internally administered medicine allows crucial window of time for children in remote areas to reach healthcare facilities

A suppository form of a malaria-fighting drug could provide a lifeline to children in rural areas, drastically cutting the number of deaths caused by the disease.

A study in rural Zambia found that suppository drugs administered by community health workers provided a crucial window for children with severe malaria, allowing them to reach a health facility.

Each year, 445,000 people die from malaria, with more than 90% of deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Children under five are among those most vulnerable to the disease.

“If they don’t have immediate access to a facility, these are extremely vulnerable children,” said Pierre Hugo, director for Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), one of the research partners in the pilot project. “Their parasite count is through the roof, their red blood cells are almost totally destroyed. They’re literally on the brink of life or death.”

The research is published in advance of the World Health Organization’s annual malaria report, which is expected to call for greater investment in fighting the disease. Last year, the WHO warned that, for the first time in a decade, malaria cases were no longer falling.

The 12-month Zambia study was carried out in Serenje district, an area with high rates of malaria among young children. Communities in the district have limited access to medical care, and the nearest health facility can be 20km away.

During the pilot, child deaths related to severe malaria were cut dramatically, from 8% to 0.25%. There were three recorded deaths during the study period – 94 fewer than would previously have been expected in the timeframe, according to MMV.


All children suspected of having severe malaria were given rectal artesunate suppositories, a pre-referral antimalarial medicine. The suppository drug is effective because, unlike oral medication, it can be administered even if a child is unconscious or vomiting.

Children who received the suppository were then transferred to a health facility through the project’s emergency transport system, which was equipped with additional bicycle ambulances through the NGO Transaid. More than 1,000 cases of suspected severe malaria were referred by community health workers.

Once at the health facility, children were given injectable artesunate malaria medication, followed by a three-day oral antimalarial treatment course.

The WHO has recommended the use of artesunate suppositories in suspected cases of severe malaria for over 10 years, but until recently there was no quality-approved drug on the market.

“It’s not a product that’s widely used, its not a high commodity product, so for manufacturers it’s not an attractive treatment,” said Hugo.

MMV has worked with two pharmaceuticals, Strides Shasun and Cipla, to secure WHO pre-qualification for suppository malaria products.

It is hoped the same model could be adopted in other rural settings where there is a high prevalence of malaria and limited access to healthcare workers.


This article originally appeared in The Guardian


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Morocco Enhances Pharmaceutical Sector with New Production Facility

Morocco inaugurated on Saturday a new metered dose inhalers’ (MDI) production facility in Ain Aouda, near Rabat.
– Rabat

The factory that represents a 60 MDH investment, is the first of its kind to open in Morocco, according to state-owned media outlet Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).

Cipla Morocco, subsidiary of the Indian pharmaceutical group, Cipla Ltd, is responsible of the production facility and plans to produce 15 different MDIs among which eleven will be commercialised for the first time in Morocco.

 

The 4,000 square meter facility is set to produce over 1.5 million MDIs annually.

The investment is the result of cooperation between Cipla Ltd and Moroccan pharmaceutical firms Pharmaceutical Institute, and Cooper Pharma which pushed for the offshoring of MDIs manufacturing.

Morocco is striving to further develop the pharmaceutical industry, which grew quite significantly over the last years. According to Anas Doukkali in a speech at the inauguration of the production facility, Morocco covers over 70% of the national health system’s needs, and exports 10% of global national production to Sub-Saharan African, European, Scandinavian, and Gulf states.

The country already counts 50 production facilities and is currently striving to attract more investments in the sector.   


This article originally appeared in Morocco World News


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Cipla, Putting Social Stigma to Rest

Abid Hussain Barlaskar , afaqs!, New Delhi

In the brand’s latest ad, Priyanka Chopra’s revelation of being an asthmatic is set to dilute the bad buzz around asthma and inhalers.

Pharmaceutical company Cipla, in its latest commercial for campaign #BerokZindagi aims at dispelling stigmas around asthma and normalising the use of inhalers in everyday life. However, roping in an in-vogue star like Priyanka Chopra and getting her to open up about her personal battles against the respiratory disorder since childhood, adds a shiny red cherry on the pie.

The inhaler is a drug delivery apparatus which is used to treat respiratory disorders like asthma. As Cipla claims, inhalers happen to be more potent than oral administration as the procedure requires smaller doses of medication delivered directly to the lungs.

Cipla's latest ad film for campaign #BerokZindagi featuring Priyanka Chopra

Cipla’s latest ad film for campaign #BerokZindagi featuring Priyanka Chopra

The latest commercial is part of the campaign launched by Cipla last year. The team at Cipla maintains that the #BerokZindagi campaign was a pilot project aimed at establishing inhalers as the most effective and safe choice to combat the respiratory illness. The campaign’s purpose was to educate the larger asthmatic audience on how to manage and control the disease. The latest ad is aimed at social stigmas – one of the key factors for limited disclosure of being asthmatic and avoiding inhaler use in public.

Cipla’s ad films from campaign #BerokZindagi from 2017

Cipla released two ads last year for #BerokZindagi, on similar lines.

And in Priyanka’s case, she learnt she was asthmatic when she was five. It was her mother, a doctor, who encouraged her to use inhalers. However, it was her relatives who were apprehensive that it would make her reliant on the medication.

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So why the ad? Aren’t inhalers prescription medicines and better demonstrated by a doctor? And, the ad speaks for all brands of inhalers in general which actually rely on the doctor for sales. How does this B2C communication benefit Cipla as a brand?

afaqs! spoke to Nikhil Chopra, executive vice president and head, India Business, Cipla, to find out more about the brand’s communication.


Nikhil Chopra

Chopra explains

There is a lack of awareness on inhalation therapy in India. It’s surrounded by social stigma. 47 per cent of patients fear the social stigma more than the disease itself. They are afraid of getting labelled, further leading to avoidance by society, peers and family. Our research also revealed prevailing myths and misconceptions that inhalers are addictive, have strong medication and are not suitable for children,

“Inhalation refers to a category of medicines and not a particular molecule or a brand. It encompasses a large number of molecules, their combinations and a large number of inhalation devices. The choice of the molecule and the inhaler is the physician’s prerogative. The campaign thus aims to normalise the use of inhalers as a category and increase patient awareness so as to better enable doctors to drive the optimum health outcomes for their patients,” he adds.

“The primary aim of our mass education drive is to promote awareness among patients to consult doctors for the most effective treatment of asthma, which is inhalation therapy. The campaign is our effort to go beyond drugs and devices and shape the respiratory health ecosystem. This thought stems from Cipla’s purpose of ‘caring for life’ and focuses on ‘patient-centricity’ that drives our innovation philosophy,” Chopra adds.


Juneston Mathana

Speaking about the brand’s brief, Juneston Mathana, creative director, Grey Group – India, who worked on the campaign, says,

“The brand’s sharply defined objective was to increase the usage of inhalers by removing the stigma associated with the disease and eliminating the myths surrounding the therapy. One of the biggest myths was related to the addiction of inhalers. With Priyanka (Chopra) on board, the communication needed to reflect her unstoppable attitude in life and use her personality to bust the ‘addiction’ myth surrounding inhalation therapy.”

With regard to the challenges of this medical communication, Mathana explains, “We had to show inhalers as the solution for asthmatics to lead a better lifestyle rather than focus on their condition. And it helped that Priyanka has been an asthmatic since childhood. Since this is a prescription-based product, not only did we have to highlight that inhalers are better and safe but encourage asthmatics to ask their doctors about their benefits.”


Expert speak:

Praful Akali, founder and MD, Medulla Communications, an agency that specialises in healthcare communication, maintains that this communication takes a real person like Priyanka, who demonstrates #BerokZindagi and gives away her secret to break myths and false perceptions.

Praful Akali

Akali says.

“I hope the brand puts media monies behind it and utilises the campaign to its full potential. It also has potential for some great PR, social and user-generated campaigns as an offshoot of the ad,”

His opinion regarding the brand’s B2C communication for a B2B category is, “Gone are the days when pharma was seen as a B2B category – it’s now clear that consumers, doctors and pharmacists, (also dieticians, gym instructors, caregivers etc. sometimes) each play a role in the decision-making process for pharma or healthcare brands. So, pharma companies are reaching out to a mix of these stakeholders to drive brand decisions”.

Akali adds his take on how Cipla would reap the benefits from the ad film, “While doctors prescribe inhalers, the challenge in the category, for Cipla, is not generating doctor prescriptions but getting patients to comply with those prescriptions. Patients believe that inhalers are addictive and users have very poor health or are weak. By using Priyanka’s story to break these misperceptions the campaign should get patients to comply with inhaler prescriptions where Cipla is by far, the market leader, thus directly benefiting Cipla’s business.”


Pravin Sutar, executive creative director, Dentsu Webchutney is of the opinion that the ad has managed to trigger the right conversation about the problem and showcases the solution in its full glory. He believes that using Priyanka Chopra and her family background as a part of the storyline is interesting, but as a creative approach, it was playing it safe.

With regard to the B2C style of communication, he says,

Pravin Sutar

“That’s a smart move, targeting the TG in this category who are surely looking for a simpler solution; contemplating between the tablets and inhalers. Brands like Cipla, an established leader, stepping in and giving their TG an assurance about a solution, will be a big relief for them. After watching this ad, anyone suffering from asthma will be aware of the message and will ask for the inhaler.”

When it comes to benefiting Cipla Sutar states, “Clearly Cipla is trying to make the awareness super-strong in this category. By having a generic dialogue rather than being specific, Cipla has managed to trigger the awareness in this category. It might help them in changing the behaviour of their TG who is stuck in that hazy dilemma. They are clearly trying to own the category. Cipla, as brand, will stick in their TG’s mind as a first option.”


Anadi Sah, lead innovation – creative and tech, Isobar, finds the film impressive and compelling. He believes that roping in a celebrity who narrates her own experience is a remarkable strategic decision that would surely benefit the brand as well as the entire category.

Anadi Sah

Sah says.

“Any category whether B2B or B2C, at the end of the day, is driven by humans who are sensitive to emotions and receptive to external stimulus. It has been a while since the Tech and IT sectors have broken this B2B vs B2C divide and shifted to a humanised approach of storytelling that has benefited them. This film initiates the approach in the Pharma and Healthcare category,”

“Being a leading pharma brand, I feel it is a thoughtful move to address a category challenge. This move benefits brands in multiple aspects. The film clearly builds awareness and recall for the brand as well as a cure for an ailment that’s always ignored or avoided. Further, I am confident that this will also generate a demand for Cipla, once there is a change in the audience’s perception through the film,” he adds.


This article originally appeared in afaqs.com

To know more about #BerokZindagi, visit Breathfree

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