Updated on 10 May 2012
Recalling his initial hardships and challenges, Dr Reddy says, "There were many well-established pharmaceutical companies like Ranbaxy and Cipla at that time, which were in existence for a long time. In 1987, when I started my pharmaceutical brand it was very difficult for a new entrant to penetrate. So, how we made our place is an excellent example to the India pharmaceutical industry."
This chemistry's child went on to make newer drugs. An important one being Narfloxacin, an antibacterial drug which created an uproar in the pharma market and positioned his company high for all times. The drug, according to Dr Reddy, was much better than the versions of Ranbaxy and Cipla. The two companies that were then the Indian pharmaceutical leaders priced their products at $0.173 (Rs 8) while Dr Reddy's made the same drug at half the price making it affordable for all.
Shares Dr Reddy, "The only way to enter the market which is almost reserved for the existing players is to get down to a price where a common man can afford. We priced our drug at $0.0823 (Rs 3.80), chemists started returning stocks of Ranbaxy and Cipla and started buying our products. This forced them to bring down their prices."
"The medical profession had recognized that if there is something called as affordable medicine it is Dr Reddy's who can do it. From that day onwards, the notion of affordable medicine was associated with Dr Reddy's Laboratories," he adds.
The passion of making newer drugs continued and Dr Reddy moved on to make a blood pressure drug, an anti-hypertensive and priced it at $0.0259 (Rs 1.20) while Merck was selling the same medicine at $1.2 (Rs 60). With a series of brilliant compounds and affordable pricing, Dr Reddy's Labs found its foothold as a strong pharmaceutical company. And 20 years later, the company has become India's number one pharmaceutical player.
The other drug he pioneered is Ciprofloxacin. His company remained the only producer in the country for four years without any competitors. "I made a lot of profit during that time. I gave one bonus share for every two shares. The second year I increased it to one bonus share for every share and the third year I gave two bonus shares for every share. That is how I became the darling of the stock market in 1993," he says.
His company experienced a blazing growth rate from $108 mn (Rs 500 crore) in 1999 to $1.516 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2009. "What kept us ahead of some of our competitors was having our own brands. A brand always earns more money than an API," believes Dr Reddy.
"Our entry into Russia also helped us tremendously. We consider it as our most profitable center. I am emotionally attached to Russia, they gave me the IDPL technology to start APIs. So, when the Russian market crashed, many left, but I stayed and today, we are the tenth largest pharmaceutical company there," he adds.
Industry on Dr Anji Reddy
Profiles of other winners