Employment opportutnities are worldwide, tough to come by right now. Unable to cope with the recession heat, drug giants may be drastically cutting down their staff everywhere else. But it is exactly the opposite what pharma MNCs are doing in India.
Despite serious layoffs in the developed markets, an increasing number of pharma multi national companies (MNC) from Europe and the US are planning to bolster their workforce in India. Big Pharma, which is incurring steady losses in the major markets, see the emerging pharma destinations like India as valuable hedges to offset their setbacks.
Aventis Pharma Ltd, the Indian arm of the French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis is the latest addition to the list of MNCs who are looking employ people in India. The world’s 3rd biggest drug company, which has been operating in India for several years, suddenly turned aggressive about the Indian market. Now they want to fill jobs and augment Indian sales force by 700-800 in the next couple of years.
“Sanofi wants to be among the first five players in the Indian market by the year 2015. As part of our strategy to penetrate deep into the Indian healthcare sector including the rural market, we will be recruiting 700-800 more field staff in our Indian team,’’ revealed a top official with Aventis Pharma Ltd.
Sanofi-Aventis will consider all possibilities including acquiring a local firm to consolidate its presence in the country to realize the goal of positioning itself in the top five league, he said.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is another leading European pharma major looking to hire in India. The world’s second largest drug company plans to bolster its field force by employing at east 200 people. GSK India, which currently has 2,250-strong sales and marketing team, wants to enhance its field-force support in its vaccines, oncology and other speciality segments, the company said recently while announcing quarterly financial performance in India
GSK India’s net profit for the three months ended December 31, 2008 more than doubled over the net profit clocked in the corresponding period last year, due to Rs 119 crore exceptional items from the sale of shares and other income from investments, a one-time gain, a company spokesperson said.
For the year ended December 31, 2008, GSK Pharma posted a net profit of Rs 576 crore compared with a net profit of Rs 537 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. It clocked a total income of Rs 1,708 crore for the year under review against Rs 1,621 crore in the corresponding period last year.
Recently, GSK Chief Executive, Mr Andrew Witty said that the company planned to cut medicine prices in poor countries and invest about 20 per cent of its profit from such markets into healthcare infrastructure.
Merck Sharpe & Dohme Pharmaceuticals (MSD), the Indian subsidiary of the world’s fifth largest drug firm Merck Inc, is another case in point of pharma MNCs looking at expansion and new job openings in India.
Merck, which exited in India markets decades ago fearing IP back lash due to an increasingly pro-generic regulatory climate, is now back in India with big plans.
MSD Pharmaceuticals wants to be one of the five top players in India by 2015 as it sees the IP environs improve following India’s adherence to Product Patent regime since the beginning of the year 2005.
Already in a hiring spree, MSD is looking to strengthen its marketing teams adequate to fulfil its requirements.
“We are hoping to launch at least 13 products in the coming two years in the areas of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, novel vaccines, obesity, oncology, pain and sleep disorders,’’ stated Mr Naveen A Rao MSD managing director.
MSD has recently launched Gardasil, its high profile cervical cancer vaccine, in India.
Analysts see great potential, if not a block-buster, for vaccines protecting women against cancer of the cervix — a big killer disease among women –including Gardasil across the world in the coming years.
In India, MSD has already started the campaign to create awareness among women on this life threatening disease with the help of dedicated centres, public campaigns, websites, TV campaigns. 2000 centres have already been set up and will create another 3000 by the end of this year to cover maximum number of women and girls in India.