Following its success in the national front, the company is expanding its presence beyond national boundaries.
---By Rashika Pokharel
After more than two decades of establishment, Nepal Pharmaceuticals Lab Pvt Ltd (NPL) has succeeded in establishing itself as a trusted brand in Nepal’s pharmaceutical sector of which it holds a huge share. Following its success in the national front, the Pharmaceuticals is expanding its presence in international markets.
"Our country is small and landlocked which is a big disadvantage for us. No matter how much medicines we manufacture, we are always confined to some extent. We don't want to confine ourselves. We want to expand our reach and gain even better growth rates, for which we have to expand our presence in international markets by exporting our products," Mahesh Gorkhali, marketing director of NPL.
However, exporting medicines has its own bottlenecks. As one of the pioneers in this sector, the company has faced many hurdles to succeed in its objective of expanding its reach in the international market. First of this is to win confidence."If we are aiming to go international then we need build trust among international customers," says Gorkhali.
Exporting medicines from a landlocked nation and the country specific regulations on import and manufacturing of medicines are some bottlenecks. Some years back the NPL had made attempts to expand its presence in the Indian market, but could not as Indian government came up with certain regulatory provisions that acted as a major hurdle in its progress.
Learning from its past experiences, the company however has started process to enter the Indian medicine market. It’s in the process of exporting its products to India."Few of our products are already registered in India and few others are in the process,” Gorkhali informed adding that “talks with the Indian government on easing off export mechanism were moving in positive direction. We will start our operation in India very soon."
The company specialises in manufacturing two segments of medicines – acute and the chronic segment. It is the pioneer in introducing medicines for chronic segment for Nepal. "We struggled a lot to bring in the chronic segment medicines earlier. But now luckily we have good market,” Gorkhali shared. Along with that the company later started manufacturing injections and ophthalmic medicines. But that is not all. NPL is bracing up to expand its presence in injection manufacturing. It’s preparing to manufacture injections like liquid and dry powder injections, among others. "We have done all the preparations to start including selection of machines, setting up physical infrastructures for manufacturing injections," Gorkhali said.
Tapping the Trend
Though in its infancy, the company did not follow any particular procedures to produce medicines, it has been receptive and adaptive to the demands of consumers and regulatory bodies. It has been following the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) of WHO in its manufacturing process, as recommended by the medicine regulatory body for producing world class standard products. Along with this, NPL has been continuously tapping trending medicine manufacturing breakthroughs and keeps its machineries and facilities updated. "Corresponding to the needs, we keep on replacing and upgrading our machines. We have five machines for producing tablets alone,” Gorkhali shares.
Nepal is a small market and to sustain its growth the company has manufacturing many products for multiple diseases. “Our market is small and we cannot sustain with only few products. Therefore, we have always been trying to manufacture diverse range of products," says Gorkhali. Presently, it has been manufacturing more than 270 products.
Nepal Pharmaceuticals Lab Pvt Ltd
The company specialises mainly in two segments that is chronic and acute. "We are strong in chronic segment products. Likewise, we are strong in acute segment products as well. For example, in acute segment we are very strong in anti-allergen products and pain killers. Similarly, in chronic we are strong in cardio and diabetic segment. However, we are not very strong in psychotropic segment," says Gorkhali.
The company has nationwide presence in terms of distribution."We are present in all the 14 zones, though we are not sure about our presence in remote areas as we do not have direct distributors over there,” Gorkhali informed adding that their sales are not high in remote areas, but good in urban areas is good.
Maintaining the standards
The company assures that its products are well tested and follow established manufacturing standards. Before sending its products in to the market, it has been manufacturing medicines by following the procedures mentioned in pharmacopeia. "There are various pharmacopeia like British pharmacopeia, Japanese pharmacopeia, European pharmacopeia and Indian pharmacopeia available. These pharmacopoeias basically help us carry out test to find out whether these medicines are eligible to be sold in the market. Before selling our products we make sure that we follow these procedures,” says Gorkhali.
NPL focuses on manufacturing quality products. "We follow strict manufacturing procedures to ensure that our customers receive quality products. We hire qualified professionals for manufacturing them,” he said. It ensures that it has sound technical equipment and expert manpower to manufacture medicines outside the scope of pharmacopeia standards.
The company has been training its staffs on regular basis in order to ensure quality manpower."We have been sending our employees to Japan, Singapore and India for various trainings and workshops. We also have been organizing various symposiums in Kathmandu itself. We have been continuously trying to train our staffs on regular basis,” says Gorkhali.
The company regards doctors and whole medical fraternity as major customers. Similarly, it also considers distributors and retailers to be its major customers. "Our other major customers are internal customers like our own staffs and our priority is to make our staffs happy. If they are happy, our productivity will automatically increase," says Gorkhali.
The company believes that it has been promoting its products through doctors. Similarly, the company has been promoting its products on the basis of benefits, like good packaging, competitive prices and quality. "We have been blending all these things in our products and believe in making our customers happy. Next to it, innovation and trust are also other elements of our marketing strategy.
NPL believes its quality assurance mechanism, competent staffs and products and state of the art physical infrastructure as its major strengths.