India’s largest pharmaceutical company by revenue, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, has launched an initiative to reach out to smaller towns and villages and invest more in research with an eye on becoming the leader in the generic drugs market in the next two years. Ranbaxy chief executive and managing director Atul Sobti says that with the new initiative, the firm expects to reach a minimum 350,000 doctors by 2012, up from the current 200,000.
The company has already hired nearly 1,500 marketing personnel since the strategy, named Viraat, was kicked off in January—taking its workforce to 4,300. Ranbaxy is aiming to overtake Cipla Ltd as the market leader.Two-thirds of the new hires are field personnel, who will spread out into towns and rural areas to push the company’s over-the-counter and prescription drugs. The rest have been hired at managerial levels.
On the other hand, Cipla has tied up with the Manipal Group-promoted Stempeutics Research to market stem cell-based therapies. Cipla will fund Rs 50 crore within the next two years to conduct clinical trials and to further develop two products being worked on by Stempeutics.
Ranbaxy’s current market share is 4.9% against Cipla’s 5.4%, according ORG IMS. In order to overtake Cipla in the market, Ranbaxy is streamlining its medical communication efforts. Separate strategies are being considered for metros and for towns. If they look deeper, they would also realize that it is important to have a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to reach the high-value prescribers in metros and cities. Even within this strategy, content and channels would have to be fine-tuned depending on the particular molecule/ product/therapeutic class being targeted.