, 15 tweets, 4 min read
Long #Thread - My #Ranbaxy Musings:
1997: I was happily set in the textile industry writing news stories for Indian Express business publications division and enjoyed regular rounds of the textile trade unions in the Parel area. But that changed abruptly.
My Editor PA Francis said I have to move to the pharma beat. Fret and fume, but there was no option.
Even as I was settling down, there came a big bold Page 1 lead headline in @EconomicTimes from @shankarsview, a low-key, soft-spoken gentleman and an ace journalist, I admire.
Ranbaxy had licensed out its Cipro OD formulation to German giant Bayer for a total payout of $65 million. A raw journalist thrown in an alien land, I had no idea what to make of it. The struggle and sleepless nights to understand this science began.
This was still largely a pre-internet, pre-mobile phone era and the heavy Yellow Pages directory was the only resource for phone numbers, of course, apart from calling the MTNL helpline and begging for numbers with contacts. Net net, everyone was in absolute awe of Ranbaxy.
Though that same year, Dr Reddy’s had also struck a unique deal for its anti-diabetes dual-acting PPAR with Novo Nordisk. Among the big executives at Ranbaxy were D S Brar, Vinay Kaul, Brian Tempest, J M Khanna, Himadri Sen, Bimal Raizada and few others.
Ranbaxy hogged the limelight as it continued to draw headlines globally – a true MNC of Indian pharma was in the making. Stories had earlier made the rounds that Dr Parvinder Singh mapped a global plan with D S Brar taking up its execution responsibility.
Curiously, it is said that at one point of time, Alembic was way up on the ranking chart and the Ranbaxy team pondered in board meetings on how to get to that level to match Alembic. Sarabhai Chemicals was another locally built titan, it has however vanished.
D S Brar had at that point noted if we are thinking global, the rivals should be global, not in India.
Then the entire US opportunity started trickling in with new pathways set for launching generic drugs.
Ranbaxy had to capitalise on that and its R&D engines moved real fast (the inside story is captured in the book The Bottle of Lies). The familiarity had started with first-to-files. Dr Reddy’s made windfall profits with generic Prozac (fluoxetine) launch much before others.
Ranbaxy had amassed a slew of first filings like pravastatin, modafinil and then the big atorvastatin, to name a few. Every drug maker scrambled to get on board any and everyone with a Ranbaxy badge.
Ranbaxy by then struck deals for a BPH compound with German firm Schwarz Pharma in 2002 and another one with MMV to develop an anti-malarial in 2003 (sold now as Synriam brand).
As the old guard gave way to the heirs, Malvinder and Shivinder Singh took the helm and basked in the glory of Ranbaxy. Pictures on glossy magazines, fixtures on TV became regular, as Ranbaxy went on a blitzkrieg buying firms in the US, Romania, South Africa and well, in India.
But then, things took that one ugly turn with the US FDA warning letter for Paonta Sahib site in 2006….I still remember, reading out parts of that letter on @CNBCTV18Live for the evening news that day.
Even while I was putting out the details, I was still hoping this does not escalate and gets resolved soon. After all, I had never heard of a Warning Letter and never believed, it will be Ranbaxy, of all. fda.gov/drugs/enforcem…
As they say, rest is history. We now read the news of the arrests of Singh Brothers in cases of siphoning off funds. All the dreams of an Indian MNC took a turn no one could have ever imagined.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Vikas Dandekar
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!