For Quality, Essential, Generic Medicines
Chapter 4: Drug Marketing    
<<Back  
Next>>


Multinational Drug Companies: A Scandalous Record

Multinational companies (MNCs) are complex, highly technical structures, with economic and political clout often exceeding that of the governments of the countries where they operate. In a bid to expand their markets internationally, MNCs resort to business practices which may be unethical. They are known to take advantage of the economic weaknesses of the host countries to conduct operations of almost criminal nature which have deep adverse effects on the host country's economy, human health and environment.

Such practices are unpardonable particularly when MNCs engage in operations which are not allowed in the countries of their parent companies due to strict governmental regulations. Because of MNCs' almost unlimited capabilities to tap physical, financial and human resources around the world, using centralised techniques, management and communications, MNCs can undermine the priorities of host countries, upset their fiscal and monetary policies, dominate key sectors of the economy, create nagging balance of payment problems, and in extreme cases, bring about the downfall of governments unsympathetic to their interests. Their financial power and easy access to the top hierarchy of government and business may be used, openly or covertly, to influence the domestic political process to their liking. Their pressures for corruption in the small host states, are therefore, great (13).

In the Philippines, multinational companies have been amassing considerable profits, draining dollar reserves of the country by unlimited profit repatriation of capital. They institute other forms of economic controls such as management contracts, licensing, franchise, technical agreements, transfer pricing and sub-contracting. The multinational drug industry is dominated by such big MNCs as Pfizer, American Cyanamid, Bristol Myers, Squibb and Upjohn - all of which were exposed in the U.S. Senate in 1966 (14) as having for several years engaged in a worldwide conspiracy to establish, and also having established a worldwide cartel to fix the price of "wonder drugs"- broad spectrum antibiotics - at identical, grossly inflated and unconscionable high prices. (15).

According to Chetley, on an average, pharmaceutical companies spends around 15-20 per cent of its turnover on marketing and promotion which is about two to three times as much as it spend on research (16).

Most of the top selling products in the market tend to be irrational (17); it is here that marketing plays a big role. (See table below.)

Leading Pharmaceutical Brands
Rank
Brandname
Manufacturer
MAT
Market
Growth
Comment
Total market
(Rs.Cr)
Share (%)
Rate (%)
   
8662.39
100.0
24.6
 
1.
Becosules Pfizer
67.20
0.8
35.0
Irrational vitamin combination
2.
Althrocin Alembic
60.65
0.7
23.1
Erythromycin Estolate
3.
Sporidex Ranbaxy
46.28
0.5
4.4
Cephalexin
4.
Cifran Ranbaxy
43.10
0.5
19.8
Ciproflaxacin
5.
Zinetac Glaxo-Wellcome
42.47
0.5
31.9
Ranitidine
6.
Betnesol Glaxo-Wellcome
41.89
0.5
17.7
Betamethasone
7.
Dexorange Plus Franco Indian
41.44
0.5
14.3
Obsolete blood tonic
8.
Glucon-D Heinz 40.82
0.5
43.8
Glucose OTC product; doubtful efficacy
9.
Corex Pfizer
39.72
0.5
2.0
Irrational cough medicine
10.
Liv-52 Himalaya Drugs
39.30
0.5
13.7
Doubtful liver drug
11.
Phexin Glaxo-Wellcome
39.09
0.5
14.9
Cephalexin
12.
Combiflam Hoechst Roussel
37.78
0.4
35.6
Irrational analgesic combination
13.
Brufen Knoll Pharma
37.60
0.4
17.0
Ibuprofen
14.
Taxim Alkem
37.26
0.4
69.8
 
15.
Septran Glaxo-Wellcome
36.86
0.4
2.5
Co-trimoxazole
16.
Ampoxin Unichem Labs
36.29
0.4
13.0
Irrational antibiotic combination
17.
R-Cinex Lupin Labs
36.26
0.4
17.9
Rifampicin plus isoniazid; for TB
18.
Voveran Hind Ciba Geigy
35.43
0.4
19.0
Diclofenac sodium
19.
Ciplox Cipla
35.29
0.4
20.2
Ciproflaxacin
20.
Digene Knoll Pharma
35.08
0.4
12.3
Irrational antacid combination
21.
Norflox Cipla
34.52
0.4
4.0
Norflaxacin
22.
Polybion E-Merck
33.53
0.4
20.1
Irrational multivitamin used as tablet, syrup and injection
23.
Revital Ranbaxy
33.09
0.4
25.4
Irrational multivitamin/ nutritional supplement
24.
Roscillin Ranbaxy
33.01
0.4
-13.6
Ampicillin trihydrate
25.
Evion E-Merck
32.86
0.4
29.5
Vitamin E: doubtful efficacy
  Total
996.83
11.6
N.A.
Source: ORG Report, August 1997
 

       
<<Back
Top
Next>>