Updated on 11 May 2012
According to Dr Hamied, India has made a mistake in joining the TRIPS Agreement (trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights system) under the World Trade Organization guidelines. Even though India moved to the pharma patent regime in 2005 it covers patents granted from 1995 onwards. "On what count does India considers itself a developing nation?" he questions. Six glitzy cities do not make for development, he emphasizes. "Is there food and health for all?" he asks adding that no one in his right mind would say that great development has taken place in India. The country's performance on Human Development Index is dismal. Food and health are still the top priority. Patent regime will begin to show its adverse impact and much of the development cycle will be reversed in the pharma industry.
"In the last three decades, MNC pharma market share declined from over 70 percent to about 20 percent while during the same period Indian companies' market share was rising in the same proportion. Now with the product patent regime, in the next 20 years, the cycle will likely be reversed back to a higher MNC market share. India is not doing enough for its industry," he laments.
For a company like Cipla, in today's scenario, double-digit growth is a tough proposition. With the product patent regime kicking in the growth potential has become limited and the pricing pressures in the generics market are killing. With growth in view, Dr Hamied has set his sights on biosimilars.
On his horizon are Roche's Herceptin and Avastin and Pfizer's Enbrel. Cipla has little expertise in biologics. The company is working on acquiring biologics expertise. Recently, it made a $65 million investment in Shanghai-based BioMab and MabPharm located in Goa, India. For Biosimilars, Cipla would have to catch up not only on acquiring expertise but would also have to compete with MNCs and their fabled deep pockets. At 74, Dr Hamied is set to go at it - once again. However, in the last 50 years, the game has changed substantially. It will require a change of strategy to create win-win options for all. He is working at it.