A Goan success story
Three out of the top 10 fastest-growing generic companies in the world are now from India. What ought to be of pride to Goans is that Glenmark, founded by the Saligao-based family, has managed to enter the merit list occupying the fifth position. This is a further endorsement of the fact that Goans have the genes to produce world-class material. It is also recognition that Glenmark’s products are well accepted worldwide. It also indicates that our domestic pharmaceutical companies are growing in clout, have a command on the manufacturing process, innovation and marketing strategy. Primarily, strong revenues have played a pivotal role in Glenmark’s growth, with most sales coming from the USA -- the largest consumer for generics. On the top of the list is the US-based generic company Sagent Pharma, however, which witnessed a quantum jump in growth of 106 per cent against Glenmark’s 37 per cent. The Indian company's US generics business alone grew 45 per cent during the last fiscal year, surpassing US$ 250 million for the first time. The triumph was long in coming: Glenmark won FDA approval for 14 generic products and launched 12 of them, including exclusives in dermatology.
On the flip side, though, there are criticisms that Glenmark’s growth is symptomatic of the pharmaceutical companies that take advantage of blockbuster drugs which are losing patent protection and produce a better quality of copycat versions of the original product. And why just Glenmark, Dr Reddy's too launched generic versions of blockbuster drugs Zyprexa and Plavix, while Ranbaxy mopped up huge revenues from sales of the generic Lipitor. But that Glenmark was on the upswing was evident by the fact that recently it was recognized by SCRIP, the most respected pharmaceutical magazine, for being the “Best Pharma Company in the World (SME)”. The undoubted success of the company evidently stems from the fact that it has shown a history of innovation, preferring not to sit on past laurels. Quality products, a diversified portfolio strategy and some significant first-to-file (FTF) product launches contributed to the success.
In the main, the path shown by Glenmark -- that persistence pays and there’s no short-cut to success -- ought to be of particular interest to those who can see Goan youths increasingly being lured by short-cuts and get-rich-quick formulae. Gambling at casinos, money-lending at exorbitant rates of interest, land deals (including brokerage) and the like have become the preferred choice of many youngsters. The misery, notoriety, legal action and family discord that results, needs to be emphasized.
It takes at least two decades to achieve what youngsters nowadays term “big time” success. Well, Glenmark was founded in 1977. Often, the founders of the enterprise do not live to enjoy the fruits of their hard labour. But their legacy lives on. Even Sachin Tendulkar practiced daily from the age of 12, and continues to do so today at 39, even after emerging a national and now a world player. Goans need to wake up to their potential and claim their place in the sun by dint of hard work and building lasting institutions as Tendulkar and Glenmark have done , and not by dreaming about get-rich-quick schemes.