"As we watch India transition from being known primarily as a generics country, to focusing a lot more on R&D and innovation, MNCs play an instrumental role in providing the technologies that are required to make that happen."

Sudheendra Kulkarni

CEO, SOUTH ASIA & ASEAN FERRING PHARMACEUTICALS

December 02, 2022

What does Ferring Pharmaceuticals’ presence in India encompass?

We operate across all three major verticals of the value chain – manufacturing, R&D and commercial operations. In India, we have an API manufacturing facility for one of our global APIs, a R&D facility in Genome Valley, and we are building a formulation manufacturing facility in Hyderabad as well. Here we have qualified scientists working on improving our existing product lines and new products for emerging markets. We also have commercial operations based in Mumbai. From India we serve the domestic market as well as other South Asia & ASEAN markets.

What type of work does Ferring take on in the maternal and reproductive health space?

The demand for maternal health and reproductive medicine is one of the fastest growing segments within the Indian pharmaceutical industry. In 2021, we launched a product geared towards the prevention of blood loss during birth to help prevent deaths by postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). We collaborate closely with the WHO and have launched the Safe Birth initiative in our commitment to protect women around the world. The challenge is that this standard of care requires cold chain transport and storage for products maintain their efficacy. In many low- and lower-middle income countries, particularly in remote areas where the burden of PPH is the greatest, access to cold chain storage is not readily available. Ferring has developed a room temperature stable formulation of PABAL (carbetocin) for intravenous administration which need not be refrigerated and is given as a one-shot injection for women in labor to control blood loss. Additionally, India’s consumer segment is rapidly expanding, and with this increasing disposable income people are proactively seeking maternal and reproductive health products, especially in the IVF and infertility segment for treatments to build families. Ferring also provides this type of treatment.

Can telehealth play a role in expanding reproductive healthcare coverage?

No single organization or intervention methodology can overcome the challenge of reaching all remote populations. We are exploring digital means to reach more people as face-to-face interactions can at times be very constrained. We also work closely with state governments and the central government in India, who has been extremely supportive in providing avenues for us to educate people.

India has done a tremendous amount of work in terms of reducing maternal mortality. We used to have approximately 130 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in India due to PPH. Today, the count has come down to 100 per 100,000 of women giving birth. The Global Sustainable Development Goal for maternal mortality called for by the WHO is to bring this count down to 70.

What role do MNCs play within India's life sciences sector?

Multinational companies are working closely with their local affiliates and have strong partnerships with local companies as well. For example, Ferring has its own manufacturing facilities but also joined hands with other pharmaceutical companies to boost its manufacturing scale. MNCs are bringing significant technological innovation and knowledge to local companies in India, and thereby drive down the cost of manufacturing and ultimately make medicines more affordable. With our partners, Ferring is able to manufacture our room-temperature-stable formulation, PABAL, in India, at a very cost-effective price. This cost-effective benefit is not only for the Indian population but reaches all other low and middle income countries such as in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. As we watch India transition from being known primarily as a generics country, to focusing a lot more on R&D and innovation, MNCs play an instrumental role in providing the technologies that are required to make that happen.

How important will India be for Ferring in the coming years?

India and other ASEAN countries comprise the fastest growing markets for Ferring. Here, we will continue looking for expansion and partnership opportunities to bring affordable medicines to the market. India stands out as one of the largest economies which is expected to grow, despite all odds, at 7-8% GDP. We will continue to focus our strategic expansion efforts here.

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