Dr Reddy's pharmaceuticals from India introduced locally
Guyana Chronicle
October 26, 2002

Related Links: Articles on health
Letters Menu Archival Menu

COMPETITIVENESS and affordability are the two main factors that will determine the success of Dr Reddy's line of pharmaceuticals from India on the Guyana market, the local medical and pharmacy fraternities have predicted.

Speaking when the brand was launched at Hotel Tower in Main Street, Georgetown, last week Friday, Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy first said, while there is no question about the quality of the range the company is offering, he does have some "misgivings" about the marketing.

"I am sure that, given the history of Dr Reddy's and the fact that it has made its mark in many countries around the world, including developed countries, there should be no problem convincing Guyanese that you have quality products.

"The challenge, therefore, would be whether you could provide them at prices that are affordable and competitive," the minister said to his audience of mainly members of the two previously mentioned communities.

However, Ramsammy said he was delighted to be associated with an event of such import, being the introduction of produce by a company as well known and reputable as Dr Reddy's.

Noting that he had heard of them before, the minister said he did not agree to officiate at the launching simply because he was invited to do so or the fact that the brand being introduced was Dr Reddy's.

"I think that our country would benefit if we are able to access pharmaceutical products from as many reputable producers as they are. I think our people deserve having choices, choices of quality products at an affordable price [as] there was a time when we did not have as wide an access as now," he acknowledged.

Ramsammy recalled the period when, because of limited access, pharmaceutical products were not easy to come by, due to their being extremely expensive.

"But today, prices are competitive for many products, simply because we have more choices [and] because more local entrepreneurs are collaborating with more international producers," he remarked.

Ramsammy commended the distributor here, Mr. Krishna Tiwari of New Stabroek Pharmacy, for taking the initiative and Dr Reddy's Latin American Marketing Manager, Mr. Damodaran Vijay, who is based in neighbouring Venezuela, for the alacrity with which he responded to the invitation to promote the products locally.

Ramsammy said, though he cannot guarantee their success on the Guyanese market, as that will depend on the marketing strategy adopted, what he does know is that generics have certainly changed the pharmaceutical landscape the world over, in both developed and underdeveloped countries.

He said, in Guyana's case, "we have had decades of exposure to generics". Therefore, acceptability of them is not something that scares Guyanese. They are used to them.

President of Guyana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Balwant Singh, who joined Pharmacy Association President, Mr. Cecil Jacques in endorsing most of what Ramsammy said, also agreed that Guyana is no stranger to generic drugs.

"...to a great extent, you are preaching to the converted...we have already cut our teeth on generic drugs," Singh declared.

He feels the challenge is whether the manufacturing company, successful as it has been in 18 years of existence, is prepared to respond to Guyana's specific needs.

Singh said: "Our perspective is that we are all open to firms like Dr Reddy and others who could respond to our specific needs. That is, to provide us with these wonderful things that you are advertising, with the understanding that we are all poor."

He said Dr Reddy's has grown by leaps and bounds and even entered North American and other metropolitan markets.

"And, from what you have demonstrated, your company has risen to the challenge and has aptly achieved most of what it has set out to do, in terms of quality and image."

Having used the products himself and from what he gleaned from long lost friends with whom he studied, Singh said, certainly beyond a doubt, Dr Reddy's is producing excellent quality material and the presentation can match that of any other competitor elsewhere in the world.

"... the area we are sure that is going to decide the success of your produce is the economic...what we can afford."

Jacques said he was particularly impressed with the type of oncology products and anti-ulcer preparations and it is very important to be able to acquire such pharmaceuticals here.

As a practising pharmacist, particularly one who has seen service in practically every facet of the profession, he said: "I think I stand qualified to say that Dr Reddy's products can do well on the Guyana market and for Guyanese patients."

Jacques said: "Give us products that are effective and affordable and we will support you."

Founded on a shoestring budget by Dr Anji Reddy in 1984, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, as the firm is officially named, markets as a research-based, fully integrated multinational corporation which has its headquarters in Hyderabad, India.

Besides Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, it has outlets in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts, Cayman Islands and Dominican Republic, as well.