By, Sayak Karmakar
Bidhu Bhushan Patra, Managing Director at Mannequin Pharma
“Local pharma companies can be game-changers in Odisha have the potential to give the best medicines at affordable rates not only in our state but throughout India”, says Bidhu Bhushan Patra, Managing Director at Mannequin Pharma.
The medicine industry is the most striving enterprise in today’s competitive scenario. Patra who helms Mannequin Pharma has been the pioneer in making a success out of the home-grown pharmaceutical companies.
He(Local pharma companies can be game-changers) has urged the Government to establish a pharma park in Odisha to apprise people of the benefits of the industry. He also espouses the notion of significant economic development with the building of the Pharma Park in Odisha.
In an exclusive interview, Patra talks about the struggles of local pharma companies in Odisha, their potential, and the need for the Government swing into action.
Q- Is your passion for the health industry self-made or inspired by someone?
Someone cannot inspire your inspiration. If it’s so, then it is not your passion, its others’ passion driven by you. I(Local pharma companies can be game-changers) built my love for the health industry during my schooling days.
Q- Can you share your experience in Mannequin Pharma?
We(Local pharma companies can be game-changers) started Mannequin in 2003. However, in the initial years, we observed that it was challenging for the organization to make profits. Therefore, in 2005, we became a private limited company. Since then, apart from a few sporadic hurdles, our company has seen a smooth run.
Q- What was your employee strength when you started and how has it grown?
We started with 15 employees in 2003. Currently, we are proud enough to employ nearly 100 workers in our organization.
Q- What is the current turnover of your company?
Currently, we have the biggest turnover for any local pharma company in Odisha. In the last financial year, we had a turnover of Rs 10 crore.
Q- At Mannequin, what steps do you take to retain your employees’ trust?
We always treat our employees as our family members. We take personal care for the training of the employees every month in their specialized field. That apart, we support them financially by giving them a salary at the right time and offering them a bonus during the festive season.
Q- Any situation which you feel was the turning point in your life?
To be frank, the situation of local pharma companies is miserable. We have to import everything from other states, starting from the machinery which makes the medicines to even the cartoons which store them.
The same was the situation of Mannequin Pharma as well. However, there was a turning point in our organization when we joined hands with Mrs. Archana Pattnaik, Managing Director of Odisha Medical Corporation, a few years back.
She is a lady with a great vision. It is only because of her that the present scenario of Mannequin and other local pharma companies have got better.
Earlier, there were situations where we had worked for a few months, and the rest of the year, everyone had to sit idle. However, after her cooperation, we are working on an everyday basis and yielding good profits as well.
Q- Why local pharma companies in Odisha are in such dire straits?
Local pharma companies in Odisha do not have anything of their own. As I mentioned earlier, from the minutest cartoon to the most expensive machinery, all are imported from other states.
However, it is not that we cannot grow. If you go to any of the metro cities- Mumbai, Bengaluru or Hyderabad, you will find people of Odisha from the medical background.
So, we do have excellent resources from medical knowledge. Yet the process of import is killing the scope of the growth of medicines in Odisha.
Q- How can the Government intervene to develop the local players?
The Government should follow all the steps that they have mentioned in their official statement. While the government is helping us, partial help will be of no use to improve a lot of the local pharma companies.
Moreover, we(Local pharma companies can be game-changers) are not asking for any unreasonable help from the Government. We just want them to follow their official statement.
The Government officials have clearly spelled out that local pharma companies will have no bar in giving the tenders.
However, when we go to file a tender, the officials give us the benchmark of Rs 20 Crore turnover, which is applicable for the bids applied by the pharma companies of other states.
Why this injustice? If you see, other states also have this policy of lower tender rates for local pharma companies and they strictly apply to it. Why it is not in our state?
When we guarantee you to give the best products at a lower rate, then why give tender to outside pharma companies in an unjustified way?
So, there is scope for local pharma plus economic development of Odisha. But the Government needs to follow its policy strictly.
Q- Any hobbies to beat work-life stress?
Answer- Spending time with my family is the best hobby.