Mumbai: Mumbai-based drug maker Unimark Remedies Ltd is leading an initiative by Indian pharma companies to extend their activity to diagnosis and treatment, along the lines of similar plans by global firms.
Unimark, an established drug maker that also produces medicines to treat cancer, is setting up a fully integrated business model, which would offer a chain of services, including diagnostics, pharmacy facilities and a call-centre-based treatment follow-up for patients in this segment.
The move is in line with predictions made by global consultants and advisers such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, and Ernst and Young.
Other top Indian drug makers such as Piramal Healthcare Ltd and Aventis Pharma Ltd are also planning similar moves based on the potential they see in the country’s fast emerging rural drugs and healthcare market.
Unimark executive director Yogesh Parikh said his company will set up specialty centres in partnership with all leading cancer hospitals across the country. The pilot centre will be started in a privately owned cancer hospital in Jammu.
“Under this new business model, we will integrate the healthcare chain starting from primary detection of disease involving clinical imaging and other diagnostics services, to pharmacy and patient counselling to treatment follow-up services,” said Parikh.
While drug makers such as Wockhardt Ltd and Max India Ltd have also entered the healthcare business, these ventures were separate entities and there was no bid to explore synergies.
Unimark will set up more centres across the country in the next two years depending on the performance of the first few centres. “Each centre will cost us Rs10-12 crore as initial investment, which includes infrastructure, equipment and people,” said Parikh.
Globally, several large drug makers such as Pfizer Inc., Glaxo SmithKline Plc, Eli Lilly and Co. and Sanofi Aventis SA are also in the process of adopting the model.
“This will ensure drug makers a sustainable revenue in a challenging market situation where patients are getting more and more informed, and they and the payers would pay for the treatment or the outcome and not just for the medicine,” said Sujay Shetty, associate director, pharma practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers India.
The world’s largest diabetes specialty drug maker Denmark-based Novo Nordisk AS was one of the first to adopt the model. It has a fully integrated healthcare chain involving other service providers and a patient compliance network in most of its markets.
PwC had in a February 2009 report, titled Pharma 2020: Challenging Business Models, suggested that the new model for pharma companies will be broadening the value proposition and managing the value chain. “Collaborating much more closely with the key stakeholders in the healthcare sector will enable the industry both to expand its remit and to align its value chain more closely with those of healthcare payers and providers,” it said.
Aventis Pharma, the Indian subsidiary of Sanofi-Aventis, has rolled out the first phase of its Prayas rural marketing programme in six states—Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
“We are open to partner with other stakeholders in the healthcare chain such as diagnostics firms, hospitals and others to create a holistic healthcare value chain,” said Pratin Vete, senior director, Hoechst business unit, Aventis Pharma.
Ernst and Young had in a March report said that world pharmaceutical market, including India, is witnessing several innovations focused on improving healthcare access and delivery. Drug makers will partner with other service providers such as information technology and telecommunication companies, in addition to hospitals and diagnostics service providers, to offer the patient not just the drug but the treatment, it had said.