Fri | Apr 27, 2018

MoBay pharma company positions for regional market expansion

Published:Friday | July 29, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Dr Guna Muppuri, CEO of Indies Pharma Jamaica Limited. - Photo by Janet Silvera

Indies Pharma Jamaica says it is building a new warehouse as it positions for regional expansion of its sales and distribution network over the next four years.

The pharmaceutical company, whose Jamaican operations are based in Montego Bay, says it will be bumping up its local operation and entering new regional markets through an affiliate, Bioprist Pharmaceuticals.

Indies Pharma sells more than 135 prescription drugs on the local market, moving from an initial six when it set up office in April 2005, and plans to add another 200 within the next six to eight months, said Dr Guna Muppuri, chief executive officer of Indies Pharma. A 50,000-square-foot warehouse, which will double as its headquarters, is to be constructed in Montego Bay, said a press release from the company .

Indies Pharma Jamaica started its operation selling other companies' drugs, but switched strategy in January to focus on its own branded products.

"Bioprist Pharmaceuticals will be the global face of Indies Pharma," said Muppuri, who also said Indies was investing J$10 million in expansion.

"We are now focusing on brand equity which also has a cost factor to it, having our own brand we can control prices of products to the market."

So far, Muppuri said his company has introduced Clarim XL, an antibiotic, and Painex, its own version of Panadol and Cetamol, to the market.

He has forged agreement with suppliers out of India, he said, to have minor adjustment on the products bearing the Bioprist brand name.

The manufacturers that have been supplying Indies' formulations have transferred brand ownership to Indies Pharma-Bioprist Pharmaceuticals, with minor variations in the names, Muppuri said in a press release on Monday.

"Hence, all the brands that will be manufactured for Bioprist will be marketed by Indies Pharma."

Indies Pharma also expects to expand its products into Latin America and the wider Caribbean region on a phased basis, starting with Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala within the next year.

By March 2013, the company plans to start distributing its products in other Central American countries, and complete the build-out of regional markets by 2015.

Muppuri expects the company to record annual turnover of between US$30 million and US$50 million with the expansion.

Indies Pharma employs in excess of 30 persons in its Jamaican operation and will add another 180 throughout the region with its expansion plan.

Muppuri also said that Indies will be scaling down its own in-house distribution to concentrate strictly on the regulatory and marketing activity, and is hunting partners to co-distribute its brands locally and regionally.

For the new markets, he said that distribution of the products will be contracted out to suitable national companies.

Additionally, Muppuri said Indies Pharma intends to enter the United States market with a filling and packaging plant, but is awaiting approval.

He said the company was considering selling up to 49 per cent of the equity, but was still reviewing whether to push ahead with the plan.

"We will be having a board meeting soon to decide that, but we expect to keep between 51 and 75 per cent in our hands," said Muppuri.