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anup soans
Editor @ MedicinMan - India's First Magazine for Field Force Excellence
Editor @ MedicinMan - India's First Magazine for Field Force Excellence


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In a customer-focused marketing model, one takes a hard look at what customers want and need, assimilates the information, and then looks closely at one’s own way of operating through that customer lens.

Customer-focused marketing is not just about looking for points of existing alignment or trying to change the customer, so he fits in your world, which has been the defining modus operandi of traditional product-focused marketing.

Are pharma companies properly structured and situated to design these holistic solutions, or do they need to focus on designing the “plug-in” technologies that support broader health initiatives? Is the pharmaceutical company of the future an Amazon that creates new business models or an Intel that powers them?

Technology as we all know, is barely the answer. A new business model and a fresh mindset is. As an industry, are we willing to broaden our innovation mandate and make it our business, literally, to scan the environment for disruptive technologies that restructure various aspects of healthcare delivery. Do we think it is our responsibility to provide better solutions to our customers that are ‘beyond the pill’?

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N Rajaram, MD, Sanofi India, said, “Toujeo is an extension of Sanofi’s continued product innovation and complements the portfolio by maximising the patient’s comfort and safety. The launch of Toujeo reaffirms our strong commitment of expanding Sanofi’s portfolio and to drive better diabetes management in India.”

Sanofi India has launched Toujeo, the next generation basal insulin. Toujeo is a once-daily, long-acting basal analog insulin that improves glycemic control in adults with type I and type II diabetes.

Toujeo is a once daily, long-acting basal insulin used to control blood sugar in adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes
The Financial Express
The Financial Express
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Two former Greek prime ministers and eight former ministers have been implicated in an alleged corruption scandal involving Novartis.

Greek anti-corruption prosecutors have asked parliament to hand over any files relating to the alleged bribery in light of the suspected involvement of the former ministers, who were in office between 2006 and 2015 -- before the current government came to power -- the source said.

The former ministers were not named.

Magistrates also launched a corruption prosecution against a manager at Novartis's Greek branch, who was banned from leaving the country, the source said.

In April last year, Greece's parliament voted to open an investigation into alleged health scandals, with the ruling left-wing government saying past socialist and conservative administrations for decades allowed health contractors to overcharge hospitals for equipment, supplies and medicine in return for kickbacks.

Greece's justice minister Stavros Kontonis said at the time that Novartis had likely bribed "thousands" of doctors and civil servants to promote its products and continued to sell "overpriced" drugs even after the country was hit by economic crisis in 2010 and huge cuts were imposed on state budgets, leaving many Greeks without access to affordable medicine.

Novartis issued a statement saying it was "aware of the media reports about our business practices" in Greece and that it was continuing to cooperate with the authorities.

Scores of people have been questioned in a probe ongoing since 2016, with anti-corruption prosecutors visiting Novartis's premises near Athens in early 2017 to gather evidence.

The case gained attention following a suicide attempt by a Novartis manager on New Year's Day 2017.

That attempt was thwarted by police, and a judicial source said the manager was one of those questioned over alleged corruption.

The Swiss pharmaceutical giant was investigated by US authorities in 2014, accused of paying bribes in order to boost sales of some of its medicines, and was later fined $390 million (314 million euros) by the US Justice Department.

In March 2017, Novartis also paid $25 million to settle claims involving its Chinese subsidiary.
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“Leadership today, is about unlearning management and relearning being human.” - Javier Pladevall, CEO, Audi Volkswagen, Spain

What Javier means is, the power of leadership lies in our abilities to form personal and meaningful bonds with the people whom we lead. This is truer now than ever, as millennials are becoming the majority population in most companies. Millennials are not satisfied with only a paycheck, bonus, and benefits. They want meaning, happiness, and connectedness, too.

The problem is about 70% of leaders rate themselves as inspiring and motivating – much in the same way as we all rate ourselves as great drivers.

But this stands in stark contrast to how employees perceive their leaders. A survey published by Forbes found that 65% of employees would forego a pay raise if it meant seeing their leader fired, and a 2016 Gallup engagement survey found that 82% of employees see their leaders as fundamentally uninspiring.
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Is it time for pharma leaders to focus on positive social and patient impact as business drivers?

The leadership skill-set needed by pharma industry leaders in this changed world is vastly different from the one they managed in the comforts of their weather controlled silos. Now the heat from the street can be felt as pharma industry leaders face a plethora of issues that impact their top and bottom lines.
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In a big relief to Indian Pharma, an expert panel under C.K. Kokate has nixed a proposal to make it mandatory to replace animal parts-based gelatin capsules with vegetarian capsules made from cellulose.

“It is the prerogative of the manufacturer to use either of the capsules for encapsulation of the drugs depending on the technical as well as the regulatory requirements based on the nature of the drugs,” the panel said in its report.

The panel also recommended against labelling capsules with red and green dots to indicate their origin in the interest of the patients.

“Drugs unlike food are not taken by choice of the patients, but are prescribed by physicians. Labelling these drugs as vegetarian or non-vegetarian is not desirable,” it said.

It also said that the contents of the capsules may also contain drugs which are not of vegetable origin, adding that labelling of drugs would lead to their non-acceptance by some patients who are vegetarians and “this is not desirable in the interest of the patients”.

Currently, 98% of the Indian pharmaceutical industry uses animal parts-based capsules although the government has been pitching for “vegetarian capsules”.

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“To fund the ever increasing health/disease burden, India needs to grow at a much faster rate.” - said Sanjiv Navangul, Managing Director, Janssen India as he stressed on the fact that patients want to manage their own health and therefore, healthcare companies should build solutions around patient’s actual need and not around their perceived needs.

Healthcare companies needs to disrupt the current ecosystem and engagement platforms between companies, providers and patients. They need to focus not only on innovation in their products/services but also explore opportunities to enhance patient experience and engagement, which will eventually allow them to unlock better outcomes and adherence. The voice of patient must be heard and should be at the center of product development, defining rules of engagement.

Navangul stressed on the need of changing the equation between patient and patient care. He asked healthcare companies to start thinking like patients. As Navangul discussed about changing approach towards patients, Javed Zia (Country President, Novartis) talked about importance of preventive care. According to him, “We have always treated health as a crisis in India. Preventive healthcare is not clearly thought through. The efficacy of a drug is when there is an effect on the patient”.
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NPPA warns Indian Pharma of stricter price regulation, a move which could weaken sales growth of the sector.

“The pricing regime will be strict than what it is so far. The government is answerable to the people," NPPA Chairman Bhupendra Singh said at an Indian Drug Manufacturers Association event in Mumbai on Saturday. He did not specify the proposed actions.

The move comes in the backdrop of government scrutiny of industry practices which found excessive trade margins and exorbitant drug prices among others.

Singh said trade margins for 25 per cent of drugs sold in the country ranged from 100-1,200 per cent. Pharmaceutical sector experts have disputed the claim.

On an industry-wide basis, pharma companies recorded sales of Rs 1.16 trillion in 2017. Sales grew 5.5 per cent in 2017, the slowest in the past eight years because of an increase in the number of products under price caps and delayed product approvals.

The government had proposed capping of trade margins in the draft pharmaceutical policy last year. A committee appointed by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, too, had recommended a cap on margins in 2016 but no action has been taken yet.

Within the sector, there has been a buzz that the draft policy has been put in the cold storage because of opposition from industry but Singh’s comments suggest the government is serious to introduce steps to make drugs more affordable.

“India has the most liberal pricing regime," Singh said while criticising the industry for unfair practices.

“The NPPA chairman’s views are misleading. In 2016, a study had found that the average trade margins for 96 per cent of the drugs sold in country was 23 per cent, while only in four per cent of drugs, the margins were found to be 71 per cent," said D G Shah, secretary general, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance.

Shah and other industry executives said non-branded generic drugs have higher trade margins and these constitute only four per cent of the total industry’s turnover. “The government actions will result in slowdown of sales and investment by companies in domestic sector," Shah said.

“If the government caps trade margins, over 90 per cent pharmaceutical sales will not be impacted. Retailers could get affected and in some cases prices of drugs could get lower," said S V Veeramani, former president of Indian Drug Manufacturers Association.

According to executives, non-branded generic drugs with high margins are sold in the hospital category and in rural markets where drugmakers do not have their own sales and distribution set-ups. Distributors in rural areas are given higher margins to incentivise sales, they said.

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4 Steps of Digital Adoption - Intent, Content, Strategy & Skills
Digital is taking marketing by storm everywhere. Pharma marketers in India have begun to sit up and take notice. They have begun to ask questions. They have begun to look for opportunities to listen and learn.

Pharma marketers want to know who has gone down the digital path and they want to speak to them. Or listen to them. They want to listen to actual cases and learn about what went right and what didn’t. They are looking for experience and not merely theory, insights and not merely knowledge, outcomes and not merely processes.

DigiStorm 2017 provided a forum for exactly such thinking. There was an enviable array of speakers who are digital and marketing leaders. The crème de la crème presented their work to an audience of eager learners.

Report in January 2018 issue of MedicinMan -
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Indian Pharma - 2018 Will be Another Painful Year: Andrew Holland
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