Business Line

P. T. JYOTHI DATTA

Mumbai-February 22, 2012

It was a decision grounded in practical reasons, but Bliss GVS Pharma’s strategy to sell its anti-malarial medicines through retail channels in African countries seems to have worked for it.

It managed to steer away from large players including Indian drug-makers like Cipla and Ipca, active in the global-funds-driven Government tenders market in these countries.

But that is poised to change – the African anti-malarial drugs market is set to get stirred. Bliss is preparing to make a play for the funds-driven segment, and companies like Cipla are eyeing the private, retail market. Africa accounts for over 80 per cent of the global malaria incidence.

Bliss targeted the retail market as its manufacturing facility was old and would not have passed World Health Organisation (WHO) specifications, says Managing Director, Mr S.N. Kamath, rather candidly. Positioning itself in a niche segment, the company targeted 26 African markets, with the exception of Botswana and South Africa, he said.

But over the next six to 12 months, Bliss is targeting the tender-driven market – where the Government sources large volumes from companies that offer medicines at reasonable prices. These Government-run programmes are supported by global funding organisations including UNAIDS, the Gates Foundation and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

With India being home to several manufacturing facilities that meet global regulatory standards, Mr Kamath says, Bliss will tie up with a third-party to manufacture anti-malarials and target the African tender market. About 80 per cent of Bliss’ over Rs 220-crore turnover comes from exports and a lion’s share of that comes from anti-malarials…Read more.