My #pharma #GST story : A study in customer satisfaction

I don’t usually get too personal in my blogposts but this, I had to write.  A month ago, my chemist suddenly stopped supplying my preferred brand of iron pills. Each time I asked, the reply would be, “Supply nahin aa raha hai.”

Now, I am very particular about my brand of iron for two reasons. One, not all salts of iron agree equally well with all women. The wrong salt can cause a digestive side-effect that I’d rather not go into. This is the reason why many women, in the past, would abandon their iron supplements – they couldn’t tolerate the side-effects. These days, there are several more options.This brand contained a salt that agreed beautifully with me. Two, it was effective. I could seriously make out the difference when I wasn’t taking it regularly. There were probably other brands of the same salt but as my doctor had prescribed this and it worked, I stuck to it religiously.

Given this background, and of course my own former profession, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I called the closely-held, probably small-to-mid-sized, drug company, based in Mumbai which owned the brand and asked to speak to the brand manager. Continue reading “My #pharma #GST story : A study in customer satisfaction”

Generic or innovator, manufacturing still make-or-break

The pharmaceutical industry puts a heavy premium on innovation – the ability to come up with new drugs. Indeed this separates the boys from the men. Generic pharmaceuticals however are seen as similar to any other commodity manufacturing sector.

However, in the last two years  one generic and one innovator have been both done in by manufacturing issues. Ranbaxy’s controlling family threw in the towel when it found it had no appetite to set right persistent quality issues at its manufacturing facility. More recently, Genzyme has become fair game to predators such as sanofi-aventis after it lost investor confidence over manufacturing problems.

More and more innovators are outsourcing manufacturing to cut costs with what some regulators believe could be inadequate oversight.  If they are not careful it might be this and not drying research pipelines that could trip them up.