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Abbott Laboratories upbeat about Indian pharma market

MUMBAI: Pharma giant Abbott Laboratoriessaid it is committed to the Indian market and has a clear strategy for the country: push its best brands and focus on nutrition and over-the-counter drug portfolios. The company also made it clear that as far as it is concerned, issues like intellectual propertyand compulsory licences are not relevant here. 

"Abbott is extremely committed and this is not just a cliche. We are strongly committed to the Indian market across all its different divisions," said 
Bhasker Iyer, Divisional Vice-President, Established Pharmaceuticals Division (EPD), Abbott. 

Abbott, one of the top 10 drug makers in the world, made a splash when it bought the generic business of 
Piramal HealthcareBSE 0.18 % for Rs 17,000 crore in 2010 and cemented its top position in the Indian pharma market. Also, since it sells very few patented drugs in the country, the issue of intellectual property that has troubled other multinational drug makers in the country, hasn't bothered Abbott. However, the top management of the company believes that India's share in the overall generic business is likely to rise in the future. 

The generic business, which contributes close to 17 per cent to the company's overall business, will go up by 25 per cent by 2017. "Today, Abbott is only 30 per cent in the 
US, 30 per cent is in developed countries outside the US, and the rest 40 per cent is from emerging markets. We expect that by 2015, 50 per cent of the sales will come from the emerging markets," said Iyer.

Iyer, who believes that the fundamentals of the India story are still intact, said that the overall slowdown in the 
Indian economy and in the pharma space hasn't affected Abbott. "Nothing has changed irreversibly, so we might not hit the aggressive scenario of 2020, but will hit the median one," said Iyer. 

At a generic level, Abbott's India team said it will focus on managing its existing brands and use its 12,000-odd sales force to push its existing portfolio across segments. Talking about future plans, Iyer said the company might build new segments for brands that lend themselves as 
OTC products. 

Chronic therapy will be another pushing point. However, despite the two big acquisitions of
SolvayBSE 0.24 % and Piramal, Abbott is yet to integrate all its business, which critics say might be slowing the company down.