GSK Pharma to forge India-specific alliance

P. T. Jyothi Datta
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Hasit Joshipura
Hasit Joshipura

Multinational drug-maker GlaxoSmithkline Pharmaceuticals is set to forge an “India-specific alliance”.

The alliance will be for a product that is a “new area” for the company, GSK Pharma Managing Director (India), Dr Hasit Joshipura told Business Line, without divulging more details.

The deal is with a multinational company and is expected to be announced in a few months, he added.

Bringing in niche products from other drug-majors through in-licensing deals will continue to be a strategy to grow operations locally, he said.

GSK’s existing alliances in the local market include ones with Daiichi-Sankyo on hypertensive Olmesartan Medoxomil, and with Astellas on anti-fungal drug Micafungin.

Important market

There is an understanding that the Indian market needs to be treated differently, he said, explaining the importance of the local market in the recently re-organised global structure of the parent company.

He was responding to whether India, as an investment destination, was losing its sheen, since the local environment was witnessing intense debate and litigation over product patents, clinical trials and drug price-control. Companies have to go through these things, he observed.

In India, GSK and fellow multinational company Merck Sharp & Dohme are under the spotlight, in a case involving cervical cancer vaccines.

Drug companies are under the scanner in global markets too, regarding the disclosure of critical information from clinical trials, among other things. GSK, for example, faces scrutiny on its diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) that was taken off the shelves following reports linking it to strokes and heart attacks.

Differential strategy

GSK’s present global chief, Andrew Witty changed strategies for the British drug-maker, with policies that included providing medicines at “customised pricing” for low- and middle-income countries.

The strategy is translating into better pick-up of the products, Dr Joshipura said, citing the example of Synflorix that clocked Rs 47 crore, in 2012.

Synflorix is a new generation paediatric vaccine targeting invasive pneumococcal disease.

Besides Synflorix, other products from GlaxoSmithKline, including cancer drugs Votrient and Revolade, were launched at about 25-30 per cent of the product price in developed markets, company officials had said in an earlier interaction.

(This article was published on February 3, 2013)
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