Unassuming billionaire : I profile Dilip Shanghvi for Outlook magazine

16 Mar

Dilip ShanghviThe media, it appears, cannot have enough of Dilip Shanghvi, the 60-year old founder and controlling stakeholder of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries. That’s not surprising if you consider that on March 4 he overtook Mukesh Ambani, the second-generation oil-to-telecoms tycoon and arguably India’s most influential businessman, to become the richest Indian.

Of course, just because Shanghvi went from number two to number one among wealthy Indians that day does not suddenly make him a new-improved version of himself nor does it throw up hitherto unknown facets of his personality (unless you go dig really deep and if you want to do that why wait for him to grow a shade wealthier, right?)

What it does, however, is generate curiosity. So when Outlook magazine reached out, my job was cut out for me. Here’s the link.  Alternatively, you can click here and here for the PDF documents of the story as it appeared in the magazine, since the web edition seems to be missing some stuff.

The headline is not mine – as far as I am concerned, this ‘Sun’ arrived a while ago.

As an aside, this is the second time I’ve been warned by a commissioning editor to keep it simple. Do not badger the unsuspecting reader with big drug names, I was told categorically. (Seriously, I must be a pretentious bore). So I haven’t. That does not mean Shanghvi’s Sun Pharma does not make them. Try saying levetiracetam five times over without tripping over your tongue. Why? Because that barely pronounceable drug is one the reasons he upstaged Ambani.

Pic source : Sun Pharma

This post was altered to include more links to the article

Thermometers, BP monitors and other vital stuff that India DOES NOT regulate #MedTech #safety

16 Feb

Dr Ravindra GhooiThe Indian medical devices sector has lately been in the news for the government’s decision to liberate foreign direct investment controls on it. There is also some movement on the regulatory front with a decision to set up government-recognised medical device testing laboratories in the country. Apothecurry’s guest columnist Dr Ravindra Ghooi revisits the one issue that needs immediate attention but for some reason continues unaddressed. The sector’s appallingly unregulated state. Read on.

Whether it is pacemakers, bone implants or cardiac stents, patient lives hinge on the safety and effective functioning of devices. It is assumed that like other governments, India has strict laws concerning the manufacture, quality and testing of these. It may therefore come as a shock to those unfamiliar with the Indian regulatory landscape that the government seemingly does not consider many of these devices important enough to regulate. Continue reading

India and drug #patents : The Ghost of #Glivec haunts #Sovaldi

11 Feb

Dr Kristina LybeckerApothecurry welcomes back guest columnist Dr Kristina Lybecker. Her latest column is an elegantly simple “where the rubber hits the road” exposition of the recent rejection of patents on US biopharma company Gilead’s Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi in India. Coincidentally, Gilead’s European patent on Sovaldi was challenged yesterday by charity Medicins du Monde marking yet another interesting turn of events in this breakthrough drug’s eventful life. Read on as Dr Lybecker explains how the Indian Patent Office’s decision rather than aiding clarity in the understanding of India’s patent rules has only muddied the waters. Continue reading

Apollo Hospitals’ takeover of Nova Specialty : what it means #indiahealth

19 Jan

Earlier this month, Apollo Health and Lifestyle Limited (AHLL), owned by the Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals group, acquired Nova Specialty Hospitals, a chain of short-stay surgery hospitals, from Nova Medical Centres. The deal piqued my interest for more than one reason. I spoke to Neeraj Garg, CEO, of AHLL, and Mahesh Reddy, co-founder and director of Nova Medical Centres about the deal. Here’s the takeaway. Continue reading

Will India’s new #FDI policy in #MedTech have the intended effect?

7 Jan

India has decided to liberate foreign direct investment (FDI) in the medical devices sector from the conditions imposed on its pharmaceutical cousins. This begs the question : to what end? To recap, from January 21, FDI in medical devices will qualify for automatic approval of up to 100 per cent. Notably, this is irrespective of how the FDI flows into the country – via new investments in manufacturing/research (‘greenfield’) or the buyout of existing assets (‘brownfield’). This is unlike the pharma sector where brownfield investment is conditional, not automatic. Until now, medical devices were bound by the same FDI rules as pharma.

A Press Information Bureau (PIB) release evinces the fond hope that the move will encourage FDI inflows into medical devices thereby strengthening the hand of a “huge pool of scientists and engineers” who have the “potential to take the medical device industry to a very high level.” It says rather dismissively that the “domestic capital market is not able to provide much needed investment in the sector.”

Uninformed observers can be forgiven for inferring that a misguided FDI policy was a key obstacle that stood between India’s medical device sector and greatness.

Not true. Continue reading

India #Pharma 2014 : A quick look back. Part Three #pricing #nppa

19 Dec

The holiday season approaches, so here’s a quick look at the year that was for Indian Pharma, before we disappear into a haze of year-end festivities. It’s a mixed bag (what year isn’t?) including stuff that could influence the way things work in the years ahead. For convenience, I’ve divided up what I think are key developments into posts rather than stick to any specific chronology of events. The first post was on the regulation of Indian manufacturing and the second on clinical trials and pharmacovigilance. This one is about drug pricing. Continue reading

India #Pharma 2014 : A quick look back. Part Two #clinicaltrials #pharmacovigilance

18 Dec

The holiday season approaches, so here’s a quick look at the year that was for Indian Pharma, before we disappear into a haze of year-end festivities. It’s a mixed bag (what year isn’t?) including stuff that could influence the way things work in the years ahead. For convenience, I’ve divided up what I think are key developments into posts rather than stick to any specific chronology of events. The first post was on the regulation of Indian manufacturing. In this second post, I look at developments in the regulation of clinical trials. Continue reading

India #Pharma 2014 : A quick look back – Part One #quality

16 Dec

The holiday season approaches, so here’s a quick look at the year that was for Indian Pharma, before we disappear into a haze of year-end festivities. It’s a mixed bag (what year isn’t?) including stuff that could influence the way things work in the years ahead. For convenience, I’ve divided up what I think are key developments into posts rather than stick to any specific chronology of events. In the first post, I look at developments in the regulation of Indian manufacturing. Continue reading

Bilaspur, Chikalguda and the dichotomy of Indian public healthcare #indiahealth

20 Nov

8118957521_d0f8f8b170India’s latest healthcare shame is a shoddily-conducted government sterilisation drive that proved fatal for 13 women in rural Chhattisgarh. The tale that unfolded in Bilaspur has more than its share of dystopic elements : unhygienic surgical instruments, tainted drugs and women reportedly herded like cattle (or lured like prey) onto the operating table, surgeries completed at alarming speed, and the women sent home with little or no post-operative care, only to fall sick. Or die.

In the media, the spotlight is on a range of pertinent issues such as medical negligence, corruption and the unfairness of letting women bear the entire burden of family planning.

What’s come out looking really worse for wear, though, is the public healthcare system. Once again. The drive was government-funded, was ostensibly working towards targets set by the government, and used drugs reportedly bought through the public procurement machinery. Continue reading

India’s logic-defying drug pricing moves : My column in Quartz India

25 Sep

Just when I thought things were getting a bit dull, they go and do this.

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