Pharmaceutical Industry

Human Resource Management in Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharma companies find difficult to get skilled people for 'R & D

Feb, 2012. MUMBAI: The pharmaceutical companies have to focus on Research and Development to survive in the global market with the advent of the product patent era but they are finding it difficult to hire skilled people, a top official said today.

"With the dawn of the product patent era in India, focus now shifts to 'Research & Development' for the pharmaceutical companies to survive in the global market. We can no longer rely on generic drugs and innovation is the need of the hour in the pharma industry. (But) India falls short of qualified individuals suited to perform these functions," Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) Director S D Gupta said at a Conclave here.

He also said that the Indian pharmaceutical industry would be the 3rd largest in the world by 2015 with production of USD 20 billion.

Talking about high attrition rate in the pharmaceutical industry estimated at 20 percent, he said it can be reduced by providing a positive atmosphere to employees in terms of supportive culture, training programmes, a policy in place for conflict management and adequate 'rewards and recognition' programme.

Hiring in pharma and healthcare segments expected to continue

MAY, 2012, NEW DELHI: Hiring intent is robust in the pharma and healthcare segments, say headhunting firms. Demand for senior executives is particularly high in areas such clinical research, medical diagnostics, hospitals and research & development (R&D) activities.

"Many companies are either setting up or expanding their R&D activities in India," says Transearch International life science partner Tejinder Pal Singh. "Since a lot of such is talent is available in the West, companies are preferring to hire people of India origin to head their research activities in India," he added. Some of the companies that are said to hiring in R&D include Novartis, GE Healthcare and Himalaya.

He also said that through demand for talent is consistent in the pharma side, it's the hospitals and medical devices companies that are looking for talent more. "Pharma is at present in a consolidation phase, but many companies in the medical diagnostics and medical devices segments are looking to establish their subsidiaries in India. Some of them already have. Accordingly, we get requests for executives who can head their businesses in India," he said.

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, managers in the life sciences and healthcare sector were the most optimistic about growth of the sector in the Asia Pacific region. Salary trends and analysis by consulting firms like Aon Hewitt have also put pharma sector among the top sectors with respect to salary increments in the last few years.

Dr Reddy's, Mankind Pharma to add workforce

Mar, 2012, NEW DELHI: Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Mankind Pharma plan to add at least 1,000 personnel each in their sales and marketing teams in the coming fiscal, at a time when most other drugmakers are either consolidating or going slow on hiring.

Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's is India's second largest pharma company by global sales, but it has been lagging at the 17th position in the domestic market, due to its focus on its overseas business. However, in the last two years, the company has ramped up its domestic field force to expand business primarily in the northern and eastern parts of the country. "The management's focus is back on the local market," a company official said.

For Delhi-based Mankind Pharma, the focus is to push its new products, particularly in segments such as dermatology and cardiology, and gain market share to become the number one company in the Indian market by 2015, said CEO Ramesh Juneja. Incidentally, both Dr Reddy's and Mankind Pharma added similar numbers to their workforce in the ongoing fiscal.

Two other Indian companies, Alkem and Lupin, also plan to add about 300 and 400 personnel each to their workforce next fiscal. "It could be higher as we enter new therapy segments such as dermatology and consolidate in diabetes, gynaecology and anti-asthma," Lupin, Group President (India Region Formulations & CIS), Shakti Chakraborty, said.

However, most other drugmajors are looking at consolidation. Cipla's whole-time director S Radhakrishan said the company will "optimise" its 7,000 sales force while GSK and Pfizer will consolidate its existing teams and conduct only a few "selective" or replacement hiring. Sanofi Aventis is also "right sizing" its team, following the addition of about 700 people through the acquisition of Universal Medicare last year.

The 60,000-crore Indian domestic drug market is growing consistently at over 15% and projected to maintain the momentum over the next few years, making it one of the world's most lucrative markets. Developed markets such as the US, Japan and some countries in Europe are growing at low single digits largely due to patent expiry of best selling drugs.

Prescription medicines cannot be advertised in mass media unlike other consumer products. So, the field force of a drug company, also known as medical representatives, is the critical link to spur sales by pushing a company's brands through doctors and hospitals.

"Most drugmakers have increased their workforce in the last few years. Now many of them are consolidating," a senior official from a domestic pharma company said. Pfizer India, for instance, had launched two new divisions last year and hired about 400 people, is now looking at consolidation.

Similarly, GSK also added about 650-700 people last year, while Ranbaxy Laboratories increased its sales and marketing team by 50% or 1,500 personnel in 2010. Though Abbot Laboratories added about 4,000 sales and marketing people through its acquisition of Piramal Healthcare's domestic formulation business 2010, a company spokesman said it will also hire, without specifying any numbers.