Friday, January 12, 2007


Hi everybody! John can be a true sharp “real change agent”. He plays the role of a belligerent Devil’s advocate by calling the product management guys lemmings. This is a challenge call given out by John. So here is an out-of-the-box idea “e-MR” dedicated to Mr John! ( and

Today we are in the era of IT and the web 2.0 revolution. It is prudent to use this vehicle to transform the way we deliver messages to doctors with this medium.


Web 2.0 is transforming marketing; planting concepts, products and ideas in to conversations, blogs and creating “word-on-net” publicity (akin to word-of-mouth), which is opening new front(s) in marketing. In fact it is not an exaggeration to say that the web 2.0 is a new element in the marketing mix.

In advanced countries almost every doctor has an e-mail id and in developing countries big time doctors, most of the opinion builder doctors and up coming young doctors are electronic savvy.

Animation is a big ticket game in IT. Animation involves creating characters; each character with some traits and there is a story board. Animated characters go in to cartoon films, multimedia presentations, gaming, ads….. In fact, it is joked somewhat seriously in Indian IT circles that IT companies are slowly becoming infotainment companies! ITTINA, Digital juice and so many others are in to this business stream.

IMAGINE Merck, Pfizer, Himalaya, Cipla or some other company takes a decision to develop their “copyright animated “e-MR”!

Let us say the animated e-MR will be christened, if Himalaya or Cipla or Sun Pharma from India develop it, “SUNDER” (meaning handsome in Sanskrit, Hindi and in most other Indian languages) for a he e-MR or “SUNDARI” (meaning beautiful in Sanskrit, Hindi and in most other Indian languages) for a she e-MR. This will be an animated character with speech and other basic traits.

It is a fact that doctors like “regularity”. So this can be made to happen – electronically ensure Sunder visits the target doctor’s e-mail box every 1st of a month at 12.00 noon. (You can call your e-MR “Sunder Noon” if you like since he visits at 12.00 every month.)

Imagine…Sunder Noon greets the doctor dynamically & animatedly with lots of multimedia effects when the doctor opens his e-mail. Sunder Noon the e-MR then takes out his electronic visual aid from his detailing bag and using multimedia effects, graphics, and films e-details the target product all in two and half minutes.

Imagine…at the end of e-detailing by the e-MR, the interactive electronic visual aid presents a menu of value added services to the doctor to click on and opt for.

Egs.: A hyperlink to a game where the doctor can zap cancer cells of the uterus using the antibodies produced by the cervical cancer vaccine (the game can be played by the doctor in his leisure hours).

A hyperlink can offer the doctor and his family sponsored tickets to the latest film release GURU (by Maniratnam) at the nearest INOX (the multiplex).

Hyperlinks can give access to message boards, blogs on target products or target therapy area, archives of past visits of the e-MRs and even to the company website or the company’s CME website.

Imagine…a message box on the electronic visual aid where the doctor can write his or her message or query to the company and send it to the company (or the BPO handling the account at Bangalore..heh..heh!) at the click of an icon!!

Imagine…special e-MRs (like the MIB, men-in-black concept) can be created for product launches; after the launch and initial use of the product the target doctors can send the specially created force of MIB e-MRs to a cyber heaven, if the target doctor is happy with product or send the special launch task force e-MRs to a cyber hell if the target doctor is unhappy with the new product. More the heaven sent e-MRs, more successful is the product!!

Imagine….the doctor can co-create his e-MR, for example using an option on the interactive visual aid the doctor can (A) select which product the e-MR has to detail in the next electronic visit (B) can alter the next time of visit by the e-MR based on the convenience of the doctor (C) can request the e-MR to clarify on some product point in the next electronic visit (D) can highlight on some clinical trial aspect as requested by the doctor during the next electronic visit by the e-MR (E) can decide which dress the e-MR has to wear based on the options given eg. an Indian “sherwani” or tie and suit…(F) even give a command to the e-MR to grow a “French beard” in the next electronic visit!!

Imagine…the doctor can forward e-MR calls to his colleagues and get bunny points for each successful forward and swap those bunny points for some freebies.

Imagine…the electronic visual aid can offer a menu of e-greeting cards for the doctor to use.

A variation of visit of e-MR can be an initial dispatch of e-visiting card by e-mail and when the doctor clicks on the visiting card, the e-MR enters the in-box and makes a call.

The e-MR can also play the role of a patient counselor too if the doctor gives the command and link to his patients. The e-MR can counsel on how to take the medicines, precautions etc. This is useful to paediatric and geriatric patient groups.
This e-MR concept will work for specialty divisions of Indian companies and for all types of doctors in advanced countries. At no point of time, can an e-MR replace the human MR, but the e-MR is a value added web 2.0 facilitated database marketing initiative.

In this “open source age” I am using John’s platform to put out this “open source concept of e-MR”. As a seasoned pharma professional I am confident of the success of this web 2.0 facilitated marketing initiative to connect to target audiences. However, it is said it is easy to conceive but difficult to deliver!! The success of any innovation requires corporate will, corporate and team initiative and resources. Best of all, this out-of-the-box concept will not get any problem from the US FDA or any other regulatory body.

The possibilities of the web 2.0 concept in pharma marketing are endless; this e-MR is one such inspired web 2.0 based concept.

I also dedicate this idea to the President of India (our President is a bold gentleman, one who motivates Indians to dream and achieve. Visit

I am Sunil S Chiplunkar M Pharma PGDMM from Bangalore, India; my blog is (mobile 9880225760) and as Sean Connery one of my favorite actors says GODSPEED to all of you. Happy Sankranti too (Harvest festival of Karnataka).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Glaceau and the TATAs

The most popular brand in India is probably TATA. A household name TATA is taking confident steps to have a bigger global presence. TATA group consists of 96 (yes 96!) companies in seven business sectors: information systems and communications; engineering; materials; services; energy; consumer products; and chemicals. The TATA group of companies with it’s ‘let’s globalize’ agenda is in tune with the opportunities offered by the globalization trend.

The Tata Group is one of India's largest and most respected business conglomerates, with revenues in 2005-06 of $21.9 billion (Rs 967,229 million), the equivalent of about 2.8 per cent of the country's GDP, and a market capitalisation of $51.3 billion. Tata companies together employ some 202,712 people. The Group has 28 publicly listed enterprises.

A great website for any netizen is On this web spot is the announcement of a path breaking global move of purchase of 30% controlling stake of Glaceau. This has been a low profile; noiseless and very successful take over of Glaceau a US company concentrating on innovating, manufacturing and marketing of value added waters.

The web site of Glaceau is great and the writings on the site can’t be copied – it is written in a witty inimitable style too. What comes across is that the company founder J Darius Bikoff is a very shrewd person. There are tongue-in-cheek & very humorous repartees to mouse clicks on the web site.

The company Glaceau was formed in 1996 (the year dolly was cloned(!) says the website!!) The company claims to have invented the enhanced water category and produces include vitaminwater®, which is nutrient-enhanced, smartwater® which is electrolyte-enhanced, and fruitwater®, which is flavour-enhanced. There is an explosive demand for these products due to the revolutionary wellness and health trend in the American market. Glaceau has addressed this trend and capitalized on the trend for great financial success.

In fact Mr. KrishnaKumar Tata Tea Managing Director and Mr. Ratan Tata Chairman of Tata Sons had made it abundantly clear that they would be constantly titrating to the questions: in which business are we in & who are our customers? It is in light of these statements that the purchase of 30% shares in Glaceau makes sense. The Tata management had decided on hiving off the tea plantations of Munnar to a separate worker managed company as the plantations were financially haemorrhaging. Today Tata Tea is redefining itself as the beverages company. The purchase of Glaceau will give powers to the Tata’s to nominate its Chairman. Glaceau is a great fit and contributes vitally, an emerging business to the Tata global business portfolio.

Now this is being innovative. This is responding to the dynamic market challenges positively and not being inured to change. Today Business is @ the speed of thought. One has to be fleet footed and quicksilver in responding to market changes. Tata is the Indian fleet footed elephant.



The rise of the innovation trend in the world, the boom of the IT/ITES/BPO/Consulting sector is certainly flattening the world and rewriting the rules of business. In fact it is not an exaggeration to say that this IT-communication technology led revolution, the ‘shrinking’ world and the globalization trend is causing disruption of the existing business models.

The post at highlights a great trend of convergence taking firm roots. Reading the tea leaves (ie to say understanding the futuristic trends) has become imperative in the world of providing goods, services and value at a profit, ie businesses essentially have to be trend savvy or get ready to be gobbled up by the mightier companies (of any domain) in the dynamic marketplace. We see a convergence of businesses based on strengths and the opportunities.

One of the pharma companies doing very well by striking thoughtful mutually beneficial collaborative agreements is GLENMARK. This pharma company is doing very well in the market and its performance is great on the bourses too. Some of Glenmark’s collaborative endeavours include:

1) Merck KGaA and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals S.A (Switzerland), a wholly owned subsidiary of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals India (GPL), have entered into an agreement for Glenmark’s DPPIV inhibitor GRC 8200, a treatment for type 2 diabetes in Phase II of clinical development. The transaction is expected to close this year upon approval of the exclusive license to GRC 8200 by the U.S. anti-trust agencies under the HSR Act. Under the agreement, Merck KGaA will develop, register and commercialize GRC 8200 for markets in North America, Europe and Japan, while Glenmark will retain commercialization rights for India. The partners will share commercialization rights for other markets in the remainder of the world. Merck KGaA will bear the cost of all ongoing studies and will be responsible for planning, managing and sponsoring all development activities in the future.
2) Glenmark has an arrangement to commercialise with Teijin Pharma, Japan too. This relates to the GRC 3886 a drug candidate.
3) Glenmark Pharmaceuticals USA (GPI), the wholly owned subsidiary of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals India signed another supply and marketing agreement with Lehigh Valley Technologies (LVT) for the manufacturing and marketing of seven products for the US market.
4) An out-licensing deal with Forest Laboratories, which will conduct clinical trials on Oglemilast (GRC 3886), a specific PDE-4 inhibitor, for asthma and chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder. This deal involves upfront and milestone payments cumulating up to $190 million by the time Phase II commences. Additionally after the commercial launch, Glenmark will earn a mid-teens royalty from Forest on net sales of the product and in addition, will supply all API for sale by Forest
5) Glenmark has also in-licensed Crofelemer, Napo's proprietary anti-diarrhoeal compound in over 140 countries, including India. These include all markets outside North America, Japan, China and Europe to treat paediatric diarrhoea, acute infectious diarrhoea and chronic diarrhoea in people living with HIV AIDS.

Collaborations work to assure complementary benefits to the participants. Collaboration helps reduce the risks and financial burden of the drug discovery process and new drug commercialization process. NCE (new chemical entity) research is very costly (said to cost any where from 100 million USD to 1 billion USD).

Recently a move announced by Dabur has been to utilize the services of Accenture to aid Dabur’s global collaborative or take over strategies to help realize the financial goals set by Dabur.

The collaborative approach is a key ingredient of successfully managing pharma company growth in the globalised and dynamic market place. One has to collaborate with several organs of the business world to grow and deliver the best value to the customers. IT/ITES/BPO/Consulting is one such collaborative segment that is calling the shots in the market place by helping companies including pharma companies to strengthen business operations.

- Sunil S Chiplunkar M Pharm PGDMM
Manager – Marketing & Training, Juggat Pharma, Bangalore

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

LIV 52: the next number 1 pharma brand?

The ORG IMS Nov 2006 MAT retail audit of the top 300 products is a very interesting picture. Liv 52 has the fifth top position and shows the fastest growth among the top 5 brands. Corex (Pfizer) is the numero uno with Rs. 100 crores plus MAT value followed by Phensedyl (RPG), Voveran (Novartis), Taxim (Alkem) and the fifth in the pecking order is Liv 52 (Himalaya). Liv 52 at Rs. 94.52 crores MAT value shows a clipping growth rate of 27.14%. This growth rate is in resonance with the ORG report that volume growth of old established brands is high.

The Indian pharma market is a bewildering mix of an estimated 70000 brands. The Indian pharma market is a showpiece for illustrating the term brand clutter. And in the war for mind share and prescription share, old and established brands have an edge since brand recall is easier. However, the unusual picture is that of the codeine phosphate containing anti cough preparations COREX AND PHENSEDYL always being at the top 1 and 2 positions. May be we Indians suffer a lot from dry and irritating cough. It takes products of addictive potential to break through the brand clutter and reach the top positions! (this indicates the potential for OTX market in India).

The rising purchasing power in India corresponds with increased healthcare spend. In fact, in India with 82% of the population meeting their healthcare needs through private resources, healthcare spend is ahead of apparel and entertainment spends. The healthcare market is a huge and growing opportunity. The per capita healthcare spend is lesser than China & Mexico too. The hospital segment is growing rapidly. The brand Liv 52 has a great opportunity for further growth in this fragmented market.

The triumph of Liv 52 to the numero uno pharma brand position is possible:

a) Address the OTX market and rural sector which are the emerging markets in India. Liv 52 has an appeal with the end consumers and well established brand equity with the Indian medical segment.
b) Focus for growth in allopathic and specialist segment, since prescription encashment is higher and value wise the prescriptions from this segment are very attractive.
c) Intensify product promotion to GP segment, Ayurvedic segment and RMP segment. Give an emotional appeal that this will be the triumph of the Ayurvedic segment and rightly so. Use a “carpet bombing strategy” for Liv 52 promotion.
d) Introduce database mailer based marketing for Liv 52 to strengthen communication process.
e) Go on a publicity and advertisement campaign for Liv 52.
f) Promote Liv 52 to market gaps like Liv 52 DS adjuvant to anti TB drugs, antibiotics and chemotherapy; Liv 52 for pruritus management and other skin afflictions also adjuvant to uv therapy used by dermatologists. These give long term prescriptions in favour of Liv 52.
g) Have a string of nationwide Liv 52 liver health seminars particularly for the doctor, nutritionist and paramedical segment.
h) Create a robust internal marketing campaign to field force to energise and create a buzz in favour of Liv 52.
i) Launch a “double Liv 52 sales” campaign with gift and cash incentives to the field force.
j) Liv 52 syrup product promotional strategy and tactics will play a major role in boosting the top line of Liv 52 since bottle prescription encashment is complete and not partial (as with Liv 52 tablets).

Alexander the great was an aggressive campaigner and the unique armory of his army helped gain control over territories by defeating enemies. Only such an aggressive campaign will work here. Only frontal attack strategy with an all out effort on all fronts of communication and marketing will boost Liv 52 to the very top. King Porus was a great and brave fighter. However he was a loser, being defeated by Alexander the Great. There is only one winner in love, war and in the marketplace. JO JEETA WOHI SIKANDER. Some marketing enterprise and going for the kill (not overkill) will take Liv 52 to the very top. Now is the time and the moment. Now or never!!
- Sunil S Chiplunkar


rajamanickam said...
Good your articles and inform me.

January 9, 2007 3:20 AM

rajamanickam said...
Sunil. STRATEGY SUGESTION you can do a Gandhian campaign (ahimsa-Harmless long life)instead of alexander campaign( himsa-harmful-shortlife). which improves health, offers long time safety,seems to be slow acting but really aggressive and sure success. proven safety for 55 golden years. you can start this on republic day or gandhiji's death anniversary on 30th jan. you can develop more like... indian product,global presence and reputation for gandhiji and liv 52. Thank you.RM

January 9, 2007 3:36 AM

Sunil S Chiplunkar said...
I am really glad Gandhigiri is catching up with the pharma marketing trend. I will remember this Gandhian suggestion of yours. By the way I recommend you to visit John's pharma marketing blog and register there too. You can get the link to there from my blog. - Sunil S Chiplunkar

January 10, 2007 1:01 AM

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Trend spotting: 2007

Any milestone is a great opportunity to take some stock and derive conclusions. The start of the Gregorian calendar year is one such milestone moment. Here is a trend spotting analysis for the year ahead that I have done; and this is applicable particularly to the Indian markets:

1. steady growth of biopharmaceutical market
2. emphasis on NDDS (novel drug delivery systems) development
3. herbal market growth (and of other healthcare systems like homoeopathy, to some extent)
4. market fragmentation will continue
5. expanding healthcare market (the hospital and health resort businesses are increasing rapidly). It is observed that increasing GDP and purchasing power always co-relates with increasing healthcare spend. In fact, in India, ORG has spotted the fact that healthcare spend exceeds that of apparel & entertainment spends. In per capita healthcare spend we are below China, Brazil, Mexico and Russia
6. fast growing medical and dental tourism
7. growth of telemedicine
8. clinical trial related outsourcing businesses will continue to grow at a clipping rate
9. product patent implementation will challenge the current business plans and models of pharma companies
10. the HIV and anti infective, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lifestyle, and gastrointestinal markets will grow
11. globalization trend in healthcare, wellness and pharma is hot
12. collaborative R & D and product development efforts will get a fillip
13. there are shortening product lifecycles, brand evergreening strategies will see a lot of emphasis
14. tremendous growth of rural and OTX markets (in fact the chemist universe estimate is 8,50,000! This is an estimate I got when discussing with an acquaintance of mine from CMP Medica, the CIMS and IDR people. A lot of these chemists are in the interiors)
15. spiraling healthcare costs and health insurance biz will see growth
16. increasing costs & risks of drug development and commercialization of pharma products (recollect torcetrapib failure of Pfizer and the Vioxx (rofecoxib) marketing fiasco of Merck)
17. Strengthening trend of corporatization of healthcare (corporate hospitals and chemist retail chains).

Many of these trends are thanks to the tremendous global position India has achieved with its IT related successes. Today Brand India is on a roll. The economy of India is looking up. The “feel good” factor is replaced with a “feel ecstatic’ factor. It is great to call yourself as Indian. Thank God for all this.

Actually, the immeasurable “butterfly effect’ of the IT/ITES/BPO sector is responsible in great measure for the super growth of India. The world is astonished and indulgent with India; the world is floored and may be even “Bangalored”. Lets understand, Infosys – the first company to be listed on NASDAQ; ringing the NASDAQ bell from Mysore remotely (that was the ultimate marketing moment), getting heads of states to visit the campuses – this is awesome for us Indians. In fact, the amount of contribution to Karnataka state done by Mr. Narayanmurthy, Non executive Chairman of Infosys is comparable to only Late legendary Sir M Visverayya. And companies like Wipro, Satyam, TCS, Mindtree …all have done great for India. (I strongly feel Mr. Narayanmurthy should succeed Mr. Abul Kalam Azad as the next President of India).

From the pharma point of view DRL, Strides Arcolab, Sun, Ranbaxy, Cipla etc are going great globally.
It will also be interesting to note how the IT/ITES/BPO/Consulting sector will respond to the market opportunities and trends outlined above. In fact, in today’s Economic Times (2.1.2007) it is reported Accenture will help Dabur in acquiring businesses abroad.

So what do you think of the above list? Do you have any more suggestions?


- Sunil S Chiplunkar, Manager – Marketing and Training, Juggat Pharma, Bangalore