The Way Out From FDC Holocaust
The recent crackdown by Indian regulatory authorities and a notification from Government of India on fixed-dose-combinations drugs (FDCs) have created a big stir in Indian pharma sector. The repercussions of this ban have started to realize now. The effects have been felt right from the inventory losses and extending to bearish outlook in the stock market for entire pharma sector.
The ban was imposed by the Government of India, citing the alleged irrationality of over 300 drugs. The notification was issued on 12th of March, 2016. As per the notification, there are 344 FDCs which were banned with immediate effect. As per the notification, these FDCs were termed “irrational”. It is to be noted that most of the have constituents of these FDCs have been thoroughly studied and quite well accepted in the medical fraternity. But, it is also to be noted that many FDCs have been banned, not because they were unsafe but their safety profile was never completely established by the manufacturers with the regulatory authority.
Many pharma companies have challenged this ban, and the daily hearing of the cases has begun in courts, though somewhat unusual for Indian judicial system. Both parties of the argument have been defending their stand. However, as the situation currently stands, the government has a leading edge in this matter.
A recent analysis by Nomura and Business Standard suggested that with the current ban, pharma companies are set to lose business worth of at least ₹4000 Cr. It is to be noted that this ban contained only 344 drugs which were taken for the assessment. The ban may strike down as many as 4000 current existing products from the market. If the full list composing of 963 FDCs under evaluation is banned the losses are pegged at whopping ₹10000 crores in a year that is 10% of the pharmaceutical market evaluation.
No wonder, already liquidity stretched pharma industry is in deep trouble. It is in a battle on all fronts. A past experience suggests that the legal tussle will go for a while. Meanwhile, companies will tend to lose their customers, mostly prescribing doctors and pharmacists. Similarly, the general public will tend to avoid these FDCs as suggested by their physicians and pharmacists. In this era of public awareness and patient education, it is unlikely that public sentimentally will come out of this ban. That is why, most of the rating agencies and analyst predicting these huge losses for pharma companies, no matter what judiciary decides.
The question arises, is there a way for pharma companies to cut the losses? Is there a way to turn this nightmare into an opportunity? Is there a way to emerge as a phoenix? The answer undoubtedly is YES.
What Pharma Industry Missed?
Pharma companies seemed to have missed the understanding of the rationale of this ban. As it is clearly mentioned in the notification and also in the several interviews given by the Committee Chairperson, who suggested the ban to the Government, not all FDCs are irrational. Also, it has been repeatedly said that the constituents of these FDCs are not banned in Toto.
This clear signal has been largely ignored by pharma companies. The pharma companies have also missed the sight of their possible opportunity, their “Own Product Line.”
Is The Solution In Sight?
The most intriguing solution is right in front of the eyes of pharma companies.
At Docplexus, we tested the response of doctors for FDCs compared with the monotherapy. To our surprise, though the FDCs reduce the pill burden on patients, the doctors tend to support drug monotherapy. That means, the audience is already set for the pharma companies who wish to divert their attention from marketing “controversial” FDCs to marketing single molecule. All they need to do is harness the opportunity the current situation provides them.
Content marketing provides a great opportunity for companies willing to expand their horizon beyond these FDCs. By adopting to digital content marketing pharma companies can:
- Spread awareness regarding their existing formulations product line.
- Monitor doctors’ reaction to formulations you offer.
- Address the confusion of doctors regarding the monotherapy and FDCs.
- Reach to a huge number of doctors in a very short time.
- Target the content such a way that your line of products can benefit.
In short, being SMART is a need of an hour for the pharma companies. In addition, thinking out of the box and agility to initiate innovative marketing strategy is also crucial.
At Docplexus, we provide solutions to Pharma Companies for effective digital marketing by
- Providing a platform for engagement with doctors to discuss a variety of medical topics ranging from cases to practice management which are of special interest for their product line.
- Ensuring content of most relevance is generated by efficient experts and delivered to specifically intended doctors.
- Updating doctors with current trends and research so that they become self-motivated to search for the tools and resources which suit their purpose. Relationship with more aware doctors is much more rewarding for Pharma Companies.
- Bringing them on Docplexus platform which acts a “One stop Solution” for information, campaigns and products as well as essential feedback solutions.
The platform offers an exclusive access to unique and genuine customer insights on perception, attitude and behaviour of the medical community. Healthcare and Pharmaceutical companies profit from exceptional innovative communicational opportunities that can drive best-in-class relationship-oriented customer and KOL interaction, communication and insight.