Eli Lilly & Boehringer Ingelheim partnership : A sign of things to come in Indian Pharmaceutical space

Though the role of Pharmaceutical companies in public health is very significant, it has often not been covered very extensively. One good example is the work done by Cipla in Africa to counter AIDS. Similarly Sanofi does extensive work in India to eradicate pneumonia and Novo Nordisk has been active in the diabetic’s space.

Many consumer healthcare firms have also been on the fore front of these activities. Colgate has been advocating strong Public dental health while GSK focuses on nutrition in the public health space . Incidentally GSK launched variants of its nutrition drink Horlicks to cater to women and expecting mothers.

But recently many pharmaceutical firms have joined hands to combat a situation.

The recent one being the collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim (BI)and Eli Lilly in the diabetes control therapeutic area in India. (Source Mint : http://www.livemint.com/2012/06/14225730/BoehringerLilly-alliance-like.html?d=2)

Eli Lilly has been in this pace in India for a while mostly working in the human inject able insulin category. Boehringer also present in India and has a good Oral Anti Diabetes drug.

Diabetes is a condition that is characterized by High glucose levels. there are two varieties of diabetes, Type 1 which is present since childhood and type 2 which is adult onset diabetes. Most people in India suffer from type 2 diabetes which requires Oral hypoglycemics initially but eventually requires Insulin which is taken in inject able form. Some patients are prescribed a combination of both. In India there are almost 40 Million diabetics and this figure may be as high as 80 Million due to lack of awareness.

So what the two comapies would do is to share sales and marketing teams to reduce cost and leverage their natural synergies in this segment.

As Lilly does not make Oral Hypoglycemic and BI does not have inject able there is no conflict in the business interests of the two firms.

The other aspect of this battle is between prescripion drugs and generic drugs. This partnership could be another attempt bu drug companies based out of india to compete against the domestic palyers. Hopefully the partnership would also focus on diabetes prevention and not only on increasing the sales of their inject ables.

This is not the first time that there was been an alliance between two firms. Schering Plough (SP) used to partner with Merck earlier till Merck eventually acquired SP.

In a study launched last year called “Fade or Flourish” IBM had reasoned that the future of the Pharmaceutical industry would involve more collaboration and partnerships among the various stakeholders. The study can be downloaded from this link.

Whether this partnership will hold and prove beneficial to the two entities is a hard thing to say but at least this is a clear indication of things to come in the Pharmaceutical world.

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran

Management Thinker, Marketer, Healthcare Professional Communicator and Ideation exponent

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