Pharma and Politics in India – The Similarities

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The Field Force is like the AAP – they are genuinely the Aam Aadmi in any pharma company. They get slapped, beaten and abused by everybody and anybody.

The Middle Management is like the BJP – They are always trying to convince everybody that without them business will not work.

The Top Management and Owners are like the Congress – They know that dynasty lasts forever! They are experts in fooling the field force and arm-twisting the middle management.

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  • Excellent analogies !! Quite credible when put the way you have!!
    The Doctors are the 'voters'? The FDA is the EC?
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Pharma and Politics in India – The Similarities

  1. 1. Pharma and Politics in India – The Similarities A little bit of humour should help reduce the tension in this season of election heat and dust Election 2014 seems to be driving everyone crazy; including pharma people from what is visible on Facebook and Twitter. The rains in Bangalore brought in great relief and the pleasant weather inspired me to write this ‘middle’ to bring down the election frenzy, which has been compounded by India’s loss to Sri Lanka in Cricket 20:20. So here it goes – how pharma and politics in India are similar. The Field Force is like the AAP – they are genuinely the Aam Aadmi in any pharma company. They get slapped, beaten and abused by everybody and anybody. Nobody thinks much about them and their ideas despite their real-world knowledge of customers. Instead, people throw black ink on their face, whenever they try to change the system. They are always short of funds and have to continuously raise funds from family and friends to keep going. They are out in the field come rain, shine or thunder with their bags (jhadoo) talking more about their problems than their products; often pleading with doctors, chemists and distributors to give them a chance. They are impatient and quit as soon as they are frustrated without any logic in the grand hope that somehow the new company will be better. They keep doing this endlessly like a true disruptor. The Middle Management is like the BJP – They are always trying to convince everybody that without them business will not work. They have one or two godfathers because of whom they are able paint a great picture about their performance. They are always talking about growth and it is easy to recognize them by their physical appearance – their ‘middle’ is always growing! They are experts in doing field work without really getting out of their comfort zones. They are masters of Social Media – on LinkedIn they post impressive achievements on their profiles. They are also present on Facebook to keep an eye on the field force and their activities! They are often present on Twitter with an egghead for their photograph; perhaps alluding to their personality! They keep travelling from place to place so often for endless meetings (actually eatings) that they eventually forget about their home and spouse! The Top Management and Owners are like the Congress – They know that dynasty lasts forever! They are experts in fooling the field force and arm-twisting the middle management. Mergers and acquisitions, expansions, new divisions are their favourite tools to remain in power and keep making money somehow. They know that even though it may look like they are losing power, they will always make a comeback. They are always talking about how people centric they are, but by now the field force believes exactly the opposite of what they say! They make the scams of middle management and the adjustments of field force look like small change.
  2. 2. The trade unions in Indian Pharma are like the Communist parties – great in ideology but in reality they are losing their relevance. The field force, middle management and the top management all use them for their selfish ends and nobody is interested in building the strength and negotiating power of trade unions. The OPPI is like the Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference – Somehow manages to retain its power and relevance by talking big stuff and doing little else but playing golf and sipping single malt whiskey in colonial clubs. The IDMA is Nitish Kumar’s JDU – Looks great on paper but little vision and even less mission to make India a global pharma powerhouse. The IPA is like Naveen Patnaik’s BJD – Very intellectual and seems to actually mean what it says. The AIOCD is like the Shiv Sena – We must get a cut of everything, otherwise… The distributors are like Samajwadi Party – As long we get our money, everything is OK. The chemists are like BSP – they make a deal with everyone and everyone hates them but the elephant is too big to ignore. The market survey companies in pharma are like paid media – all the time dishing out big data, which has little relevance to market reality. The consulting firms are like the psephologists – predicting and selling India Shining reports year after year and charging a bomb for their copy and paste services. Then there are the placement agencies, gift suppliers, courier agencies, travel agencies, branding agencies and the lot – they are like Devegowda and his sons’ JDU. No matter what happens, they will never go out of business and exist in one form or the other. They are the ones who truly make a killing out of Indian Pharma without any investment of their own. I leave it to the imagination of my pharma friends to figure out AIADMK, DMK, RLD and a whole lot of others, which only a diverse country like India can boast of.

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