Annual Pharma Summit 2016 – Trade Winds, I.I.F.T. Delhi

The second segment of the National Marketing Summit on Day One of Trade Winds 2016, the annual business summit at IIFT was focused on the Pharmaceutical and Health Care sector. The topic was “Leveraging Digital Technology for Enhancing Customer Connect in Pharmaceuticals, Health Care and Medical Devices” and the summit started off with an open discussion among the panel members.

Munish MalhotraMunish Malhotra, Director – Specialty Business Units, Eli Lilly

The first address of the evening was made by Mr. Munish Malhotra- Director for Specialty Business Units at Eli Lilly, who talked about the 5 P’s of Pharma which he described as Patient, Physician, Pairs, Providers and Producers. Mr. Malhotra moderated the discussion and gave various meaningful insights to the students, making the topic more relevant and clear. He mentioned how Patient is at the focal point and how the Parliamentary regulations also have an important role to play. He further elucidated the importance of technology that has made the patients more aware and has helped doctors stay updated, which has also brought significant revolution in terms of cost, time and value of marketing to the industry.

Mr. Malhotra pointed out that historically, it has become easier and easier to implement digital initiatives into everyday life and about how sectors will soon become obsolete if they do not adjust to the changing times. He underscored the importance of improved peer to peer communication among the healthcare sector and how digitization would immensely help the same.

AnirbanRoyChoudhary Anirban Roy Chowdhury, Senior Director, Global Clinical Trial Operations, Merck Sharpe and Dohme (M.S.D.)

The next speaker was Mr. Anirban Roy Chowdhury, Senior Director, Global Clinical Trial Operations at Merck Sharpe and Dohme, who emphasized on the importance of technology in the Research and Development domain of healthcare.

Mr. Chowdhury took us into the wonderful yet risky world of drug discovery and research. He made us appreciate the fact that from 10,000 compounds, $1.5bn investment and hard work of many years, we generally get a compound that can fight a disease. These are astonishing numbers and the expense can even reach $4–5 bn in case of multiple failures before a breakthrough.

Sir also talked about the huge impact that data and digital technology can make in medicine. Right from better drug regime compliance, electronic patient diaries, remote diagnosis from best doctors and vitals monitoring.  Sir rightly stressed that pharma and medicine is on the cusp of a revolution. He also predicted that with the advent of wearable devices people will have a quantitative measure of their health metrics. This can be attached to a server to the doctor’s system which can help them draw useful insights.

MSGuruPrasad - CopyM.S. Guru Prasad, Group General Manager, Narayana Health

Concentrating the Hospital segment was Mr. M. S. Guru Prasad- Group Head, International Sales and Marketing at Narayana Health who enlightened the audience about the advent of tele-medicine and tele-radiology. Mr. Prasad highlighted how the mode of interaction between patients and doctors has evolved with time. From telephone conversations, it moved to SMS followed by WhatsApp and now video technologies like webinars. Patients from remote parts consult the doctors through any of these digital technologies. Rural areas are connected to satellite centers which links them to various doctors at cheaper prices. If a face-to-face transaction costs Rs. 500, these online interactions would be charged around Rs. 200 – 250 which is a benefit for both the doctor – who does not have to travel – and the patients who can get treated at cheaper rates.

MuskeshParmar3Dr. Mukesh Parmar, Business Unit Head, Smith and Nephew

The last speaker in the discussion was Dr. Mukesh Parmar , Business Unit Head at Smith and Nephew, who began by throwing questions at the audience, trying to gauge the students’ interest in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Parmar interacted with the students and explained about the Indian pharmaceutical industry which has a market size of $100bn and a CAGR of 23%. He also touched upon the insurance penetration in the Indian markets – private penetration being ~5% and government penetration around ~12%. He discussed about the various customers that the healthcare sector targets namely – providers (hospitals), doctors, patients and other business organizations.

Going from the pharma customers being hospitals, doctors, patients and the like to the market share of healthcare in India currently, he veered the discussion towards digital technology in healthcare. He touched upon topics like lag in the healthcare industry due to regulations. He explained how there are highly selling drugs and medicines like orthopedic implants. However, there are no adverts on television regarding the sale of medicines. Hence, marketing is restricted in this arena due to the structure of information flow.

The discussion concluded and was followed by a Q & A round where the curious IIFT student fraternity asked their queries to the panelists and engaged in discussion with them.

In a nutshell, the second part of the Marketing Summit was immensely knowledgeable as it helped the students learn a number of new things about the Healthcare industry. We at IIFT thank the esteemed guests for taking out time to attend Trade Winds and also extend our gratitude for all the knowledge they imparted to us.



This article is authored by Prakhar Agrawal, pursuing MBA (IB) as a student of 2016-18 batch and Junior Club Co-ordinator of PHI – The Pharma, Health, and Insurance Club at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (I.I.F.T.), Delhi

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