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Can IT drive innovation for pharma companies?

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DQI Bureau
New Update

With many patents expected to go off record what is the business perspective of the industry?

Mayur Danait (MD), CIO, Lupin- Lupin is an Indian company and the activities can be differentiated into R&D and marketing. In the last few years, we have seen a huge shift with the US emerging as the largest market followed by Japan and India. From an earlier India-centric focus we have now changed focus to cater to the global supply chain.

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We are a core Indian company and in terms of of the supply chain there is difference in the manner in which the western market takes an approach in comparison to the Indian market. The dynamics are completely different. Customers in the western market rate us totally on the basis of OTF. It is about how we tweak our people's mindsets, etc , to cater to this new demographics.

Arun Gupta (AG), CIO, Cipla- We are a 78 year old generics company. Our intention is to target the underserved market. This can be linked to our success in bringing down the prices of AIDS medicines. We also intend to serve the unserved market. As the global market now focusses on generics, it now offers huge opportunities.

You need to know your market very well like what the norms are, etc. Like for example, in South Africa, it is the NGOs who dominate the scene.

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What are your views in relation to moves to counter counterfeiting of drugs?

MD - Anti-counterfeiting of drugs has been regulated by both the Indian as well as companies abroad. Indian generics is a brand in itself and we need to use this as an advantage to show to the world that we are a power to reckon with.

AG - The challenges go beyond the companies having to put in their serial number. There is a need for the government to step in to create an infrastructure. It is always to be borne in mind that thieves are slightly smarter than the poice and hence there is a need to create hurdles for them accordingly. So i would like to wait and watch to ensure that the consumer gets a genuine product that he has paid for.

How have you been automating the systems for the salesforce?

MD - The biggest system for them is the call reporting system. Over the years we have moved from paper to the electronic systems. But over and above that we are looking for people/employees who are smart and better access to IT/devices without the requirement for training. We are also considering/looking at the mobile side of initiatives.

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AG - We have a seven thousand strong salesforce and three thousand people to support them. They use basic systems for tracking, recording, targeting, etc. We are trying our best to aid our representatives in ensuring that in terms of brand recall on the doctor's mind our drugs stand to benefit always over the products of other companies.

What is your view on cloud, social media, etc?

AG - We use cloud but that for basic functions like HR, collaboration and communication. We also plan to move the semi-core applications to the cloud. In relation to big data, show me a company that has made the fully adopted it. Globally, too pharmaceutical companies have not done a remarkable thing to mention in relation to social media.

MD - For social media, we are not actually ready but as far as cloud is concerned there is a well planned/defined strategy. We believe that if it is a plain vanilla service then it can be outsourced. We have put the emails on the cloud and the second is that the salesforce related functions have been moved to the cloud. Mobility is here to stay.

(This was a chat session at SAP Forum in Mumbai, moderated by Jayaraman Krishnamurthy, Industry Director - Consumer Industries, SAP India.)

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