Last week drug maker Abbott India Ltd reported a 34.6% rise in net profit for the quarter ending 30 June. Bhaskar Iyer, India head of the Rs2,336 crore company, a subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories, said in an interview that the company is turning to exports, among other things, to ramp up its business in India. Edited excerpts:

You say you want Abbott India to grow faster than the rate at which the market is growing at. How do you plan to achieve that?

By a couple of ways—strengthen our portfolio (the Piramal acquisition worked in a big way) and grow organically. And yes, as long as it makes strategic and financial sense, we are open to acquisitions as well but those need to have compelling strategic rationale and should make financial sense. So if you look at our diabetes portfolio, we’ve just launched in India the next generation of diabetes monitoring device (a wearable device); and a few of our other divisions are on the verge of launching cutting edge products that I can’t talk about as yet.

Is there anything else that you’re doing to beef up your business here?

We have the largest formulation plant in India and it’s in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. We’re trying to see if we can make India strategically more relevant in a global context. For that we want to scale up R&D and look at developing making for India but also for multiple emerging markets. We’re trying to see how do we make this R&D hub the centre of excellence, how do we leverage Indian capability, how do we leverage different technology platforms and different drug delivery systems.

Where are you planning to export from India?

Emerging markets. The first areas we would evaluate are Asia Pacific and Africa and also a distant continent like LatAm (Latin America).

How soon will you start exports from Baddi?

It’s too early to say. Maybe mid-2016, maybe later. We’re investing in that facility right now, and getting the right certification for exports. An audit will happen for that in the next few weeks. I can’t give a date right now.

Since you haven’t traditionally exported from India, what made you decide to do that now?

The whole world has been saying for a long time now that India has process chemical capability. We have a good capability and we have the capacity, so why not explore that?

The US and the UK regulators have raised red flags on the manufacturing plants in India of several pharma companies. As you enter the business of exports, does that concern you?

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has very clear and robust standards and processes. They look at it on a case by case basis and I don’t think you can paint everyone with the same brush.

What is your view on the current business environment in India?

Irrespective of all the sound bites in the press, which are either morbid or despondent, I’m still very bullish on India and I think ours is an extremely bullish industry to be in. You need to be in India for the long run—we’ve been here since 1910—and not for a quarter or a month. I’m not clutching at straws and this is not emotional hoopla. But if you look at the GDP numbers, India is at a better place than the other BRICS nations. And it’s axiomatic that when there’s an increase in GDP, there’s an increase in consumer spending and an increase in medical infrastructure, medical tourism and better penetration of personal health insurance. If you look at any of the underlying levers that work in healthcare, you’ll see they will truly work in India’s favour.

There’s been some M&A in your sector. Are you expecting more?

M&A will continue to accelerate for a variety of reasons—absence of a succession plan at many companies; and that companies don’t have the right footprint or geography and that’s what’s driving them.

Are you concerned about price control?

It’s not a new phenomenon and it’s not unique to India. The important thing for a person and for the industry is that what are we trying to do, all policies should make a difference to the patient, should help improve access to healthcare.

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