Rural /Small Towns ( Tier 2 cities)- 1.24 Bill $ each
One of the fastest growing pharmaceuticals markets in the world propelled by growth in rural markets from 18% in 2005 to 21% in 2006.
Source: IPA, Earnest and Young analysis, 2006
Rural Marketing- Pharmaceuticals
India: Rural Scenario
About 70 percent of India resides in villages- approximately 74,26,17,747 of the whopping 1.1 billion Indian population.
Only 30 percent of the population has access to quality medicines.
Rural Pharma Industry only constitutes 21 % of the total Pharma Market.
20 million middle class households spread across 6,00,000 villages in rural India, which is equal to the number of middle class households in urban India.
The disposable income in rural India is much more as compared to urban areas. Food, shelter and primary education are virtually free in rural areas.
India: Rural Scenario
Dominated by the acute and infective therapy segment.
Some of the prominent disease segments prevalent in the rural markets are pain or analgesics, anti-infective and respiratory
Most of the products that are being advertised and marketed aggressively are the low risk-low involvement products like pain balms, lozenges, and cough and cold syrups.
The high risk-high involvement products like cardiac or cancer products are not advertised or marketed through media as regulatory guidelines prevent this.
Traditional Rural Marketing in Pharma
Rural marketing activities of many pharma companies have been traditionally restricted to markets with stocks of the concerned product; and stocking them with the chemists there
Even today, the best and the largest of pharmaceutical companies reach only Class 1 towns.
Marketing in the villages-include some unplanned taxi tours or they leave it to the stockist’s network to make the goods available without any doctor promotion in the rural areas.
Advertisements in Rural Markets
The high risk-high involvement products like cardiac or cancer products, are not advertised or marketed through media as regulations prevent this.
Companies often taken the community-welfare route to educate the rural consumers about a particular disease segment and make them aware of the treatments available
Companies conduct healthcare workshops in the rural areas by tapping the doctors there
Rural Marketing – Challenges
Highly disbursed and thinly populated markets
Reliance on local chemists /Neem Hakims and penetration of spurious drugs
Unavailability of stockists and skilled sales force
Lack of Communication/language barriers
Lack of proper distribution network/supply chain
Poorly educated rural population
Lack of adequate qualified doctors
Lack of awareness of ailments or symptoms
Cultural gaps in urban marketers and rural consumers
Scant availability of market research.
What is making the rural market attractive
Rise in rural income levels
Sops by Govt to set up rural health care infrastructure
Penetration of rural insurance
Thrust on rural health care program
Competition in Urban Market
Rise in lifestyle diseases
Case Study Elder Pharma’s Rural Initiative
Elder Pharmaceuticals- Rural Initiative
The Rs 650 crore Elder Pharmaceuticals Limited has set up a dedicated division called “Elvista” to spread its network to villages, towns, sub-urban/periphery markets and hinterland districts.
Initial target is Class II to IV towns and rural markets with a dedicated sales force of 240. with plans to increase Elvista’s marketing strength to about 750 personnel or “product specialists” by 2012
The company has earmarked an investment of Rs 40 crore for its rural thrust.
Elvista is targeting therapeutic categories which have greater relevance in rural areas and are preferred by doctors like Anti-peptic Ulcerants, Anti-Malarials, Anti-infectives, NSAIDS, Quinolones, Cough preparations, etc.
Division has been launched with the support of 16 brands which included a big brand like Eldervit injection. And few niche brands like Mucodyne, Mucobron, Protocream and Venex too have been launched in these towns.
Elvista has already penetrated the rural markets of UP, Maharashtra, Andhra and Bihar and soon will enter the South.
Going ahead the company will be looking at smaller pack sizes for rural markets. For example, plans are already made to launch topical pain reliever called Ontac Gel in a small blister sachet pack.
Outreach techniques to target rural audience would include Mobile Health Clinics
Plan for 2012
Before Dec 2012, Elvista plans to reach 1500 villages with populations of below 40,000, 300 villages with populations of 40,000 to 100,000 and over 75 peripheral villages/towns around MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan region).
By 2012, Elvista’s target is to cover about five lakh doctors promoting health education and awareness.
Elder has over 350 products with focus of generics, women’s healthcare, pain management lifestyle diseases etc which are planned to be taken to the rural markets by 2012 by which time Elvista is expected to contribute about 15 percent of Elder’s total turnover.
Case Study- Arogya Parivar Yojana
Novartis ‘social business’ model for rural India- awarded prestigious award for "Best long-term rural marketing initiative" from the Rural Marketing Association of India (RMAI).
Sandoz and Consumer Health began piloting this model 2006. to address following challenges :
Lack of healthcare infrastructure,
Lack of diagnosis - non awareness of the symptoms of diseases.
Tendency to go to visiting a doctor whena disease becomes critical, due to the cost and time involved.
Aim of the scheme
The initiative a mix of aims to build a sustainable, profitable business that improves access to healthcare among the underserved millions in rural India by :
Enhancing local availability,
Designing appealing and affordable health solutions.
Innovative direct approach to make villagers aware of prevalent diseases and encourage them to seek treatment.
Field force and product lines adapt to rural needs
Model -decentralized- the field force is in autonomous cells (170 cells by year-end 2008). Each cell has health educators and supervisors who collaborate with local health professionals, pharmacy chains and NGOs to address the whole "patient flow," including education, diagnosis, treatment, delivery, and availability and accessibility of medicines.
Novartis India has also adapted its organization and product offering to the rural markets.
A key differentiator is offering patients integrated solutions to health problems rather than mainly selling products to health professionals.
Products selected for the initiative are simple to use and packages are reduced in size to keep out-of-pocket costs low.
Arogya Parivar focused on diseases where Novartis could offer solutions with Sandoz and OTC products. These included tuberculosis and other respiratory infections, cough, cold, allergies, skin and genital infections, mother and child malnutrition, diabetes, intestinal worms and digestive problems - important challenges in rural communities.
Late 2006, the Arogya Parivar initiative was launched in the northern state of U. P. and the western Maharashtra which inc. to a population of around 25 million villagers across seven states by end 2008. The objective is to double it by 2010 .
The company target is to reach 50 million rural patients by February 2010.
Some Other Initiatives by leading Pharma companies in Rural Markets
Some Major Initiatives
Novo Nordisk Education Foundation launched 'The Changing Diabetes Barometer project' in Goa last year under the banner of Global Changing Diabetes Leadership forum in association with the Goa Government.
Through this project the company aims through its mobile clinics undertake a massive diabetes control programme, which includes
Creating mass awareness of diabetes,
conducting diabetes screening programmes,
enabling practical training camps for medical professionals,
improving treatment of diabetes with focus on reducing complications related to diabetes and
working towards making Goa free from diabetes related amputation, blindness, nephropathy and other complications.
In another initiative, the company conducts training for anganwadi workers.
This education programme covers various aspects of diabetes including early symptoms of diabetes, diagnosis complications and unlearning myths about diabetes. Anganwadi workers are trained health workers in various aspects of preventive health, nutrition and child development covering rural areas.
Through this programme, 74 anganwadi workers responsible for maintaining health records of 1,000 to 1,500 people in their area were trained.
A group of Pharma companies under leadership of Nicholas Piramal has asked govt to allow them to use post offices as a channel to sell life saving drugs Company Initiative Nicholas Piramal (NPIL) It has tied up with Sorento Healthcare Communications for an Epilepsy Outreach Programme launched under the banner 'Reach More, Teach More'. Strepsils lozenges It builds brand awareness in villages through billboards at bus stands, branding buses, hoardings, promotions at village haats, jatras and melas, road shows etc. Ajanta Pharma It uses stalls at fairs, slides in cinema halls, moving vans. It also educates tertiary health workers, who work in smaller villages. Eli Lilly It works with the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad to educate people on tuberculosis and encourage them to seek treatment
Case Study RW Promotions and Marketing
RW promotions – advertising agency focusing on rural markets has over 50 stage vans which have been driving campaigns in rural markets for corporate across sectors ranging from FMCG to banking, television channels, telecom companies etc for the last 15 years.
It is a big success in Pharma as it promotes brands by conducting medical camps which help in increasing the number of prescriptions of the brand for the next four weeks once the van leaves the town.
It also helps the pharma client build awareness about the ailment for which the drug is being promoted.
"The modus operandi of the medical camp being conducted is the brand being promoted aggressively with the entire sales chain getting touched starting from the MR to the distributor to the local retail chemist.
It has already conducted a few medical camps including GlaxoSmithKline's Parivar Swasthya Parikshan Shibir, in Uttar Pradesh, to create awareness for calcium intake in body through a basket of drugs mainly Osteo Calcium along with Zentel, Zevit and Becadexamin. This in return added 9,000 new prescriptions which in turn resulted in almost about 95 percent of it getting converted into sales.
‘ Hame Jeetna Hai’ in Uttar Pradesh by Piramal Healthcare was an 18 month long activity, - creating general awareness for epileptic patients through free medical check-up camps with readily available medicines like Garoin and Gardenal, which . This helped them in generating additional prescriptions of about 10,000 patients.
An average medical camp campaign over a 30 day route cycle would costs between Rs 4.5-5 lakh depending upon the drug being promoted.
The van ideally has a 30 day route cycle conducting about 70 to 80 medical camps with an average medical camp touching around 100 to 200 people.
Recommendations & Strategy for Rural Market
Dedicated focus on rural separate divisions ( like Elder. )
Focus on education with emphasis on primary health.
Availability of medicines at primary health centers.
Involvement of people for early diagnosis through camps.
Training to selected villagers in paramedics (will help in communication and overcoming prejudices).
Training of Dai’s, local chemists at training camps.
Pooled warehouses (with cold storage etc.)
Recommendations & Strategy for Rural Market
Use of post offices as a distribution channel for life saving basic drugs.
Propagate happy user experience in communication.
Use of folk artists and folk songs to communicate effectively and interestingly.