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Special Report


Feb 12 - 18, 2001

Syed Adil Aziz, is the Divisional Sales Manager in GlaxoWellcome, which is one of the largest multi-national companies working in Pakistan. Adil, a young graduate (pre-medical) from University of Sindh, originally hails from Mirpurkhas, the lush green agriculture sector of the province. He did his MBA from South City Institute of Management, Karachi. He carries a number of professional courses to his credit, which include "Introduction to Management", "Sales Forecasting" and "System-500" from PIMS, Karachi and IMS International respectively. In order to groom himself in managerial skills, Adil also got through the professional courses like "High Performance Managerial Skill" and "Human Resource Management Development System" from Human Resource Consultant, Karachi.

PAGE: Why did you choose to work in the field of Sales, is it your passion or just a source to earn bread and butter for your family?

Adil: "To tell you the truth, in the beginning, the profession of sales was not my passion, I joined GlaxoWellcome, Pakistan in routine like other young graduates who look for a job after completion of the formal education. However gradually I developed a passionate attachment with this profession. Being a Muslim, it also gives a sense of satisfaction as the profession of the sales was opted by our prophet (PBUH) hence it is Sunnah also".

PAGE: You know, attracting the foreign investment is one of the major economic targets of Pakistan. Since you are working with one of the leading multi-national companies (MNCs) would you like to share your views how the existing foreign investors feel about prevailing economic policies in Pakistan?

Adil: As far as MNCs were concerned, about 36 multi-national companies are working in the pharmaceutical industry alone. Naturally they are here due to commercial interest. Whether local or foreign, the investment is always shy of uncertainties because they plan for investment in the light of the policies. Adil cited an interesting example of change in government policies hitting the pharmaceutical industry in a big way. He said that the previous government of Nawaz Sharif had imposed a ban on the wedding lunch or dinners. Though the decision seems have nothing to do with the pharmaceutical industry, yet it hurt the industry in a big way. Production of veterinary medicine, especially for poultry birds is an important segment of pharmaceutical industry. Since the demand for chicken has been drastically cut as a result of ban of food serving a large number of poultry farms either have gone out of production or have reduced poultry production. Consequently the demand for poultry medicines have also been reduced almost to insignificant level. Reduction in volume of production has done away with the commercial viability of this sector.

PAGE: It is a general complaint of the people that prices of medicines are much higher as compared to the prices of the same products in other regional countries including India. How would you justify the price level in Pakistan?

Adil: "I would not defend or deny the general observations, however I would like to describe certain conditions prevailing in our country especially which have the direct effect on price level in Pakistan. He said that price of pharmaceutical products are strictly controlled in Pakistan. The government after 4 years allowed the recent 8-10 per cent increase in drug prices. It could be an easy calculation even for a lay man that how much the value of rupee has been depreciated during these 4 years. Since the entire raw material used in medicines is imported into the country, the rupee-dollar parity has always the direct bearings on the cost of production of the pharmaceutical industry. The declining margin on the investment obviously is a source of dissatisfaction for the investors, may it local or foreign investment.

PAGE: Research and Development(R&D) is one of the most important factors especially in health sector. What is the R&D status especially in pharmaceutical sector in Pakistan?

Adil: Certainly R&D are the basic requirement to remain update in the health sector and to cope with the deadly diseases, which are still beyond the human control. As far as the funds allocation on the part of MNCs is concerned, a huge amount is allocated in annual budgets by almost all MNCs. The current trend of mergers of different big houses in the pharmaceutical sector is also the part of this programme aimed at using the collective funds more effectively on R&D. As a result of these efforts, GlaxoWellcome has made a breakthrough by developing a highly effective medicine for Hepatitis-B which was considered as one of the deadly diseases around the world. Similarly a major breakthrough is an also expected to be achieved in combating diabetes yet another serious threat to human health. It is however unfortunate that more than 70 local pharmaceutical companies are least bothered about the important factor of R&D, which are allocating nothing for this noble cause. There should be some moral or legal bindings for the local companies to contribute whatever they can towards R&D in Pakistan, he suggested.