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BW Businessworld

Akums Pharma: What's The Next Move Towards Healthcare?

BW Businessworld had a visit to Akums' manufacturing plants in Haridwar where we intervewed Sandeep Jain, MD of Akums

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Sandeep Jain, MD & Co-founder, Akums

Akums Drugs and Pharmaceuticals is one of India's largest medicine manufacturers producing drugs ranging in allopathy, veterinary, cosmetics and Ayurveda. Pharma giants like Cipla, Cadila Pharmaceuticals, Glenmark, Novartis, Mylan, etc are in partnership with the organisation.

BW Businessworld had a visit to Akums' manufacturing plants at the heart of the eternal and holy land of Haridwar, Uttarakhand. There while speaking to Sandeep Jain, managing director and co-founder of Akums, it came to light that the company is up to producing 12 per cent of the country's medicines. Excerpts;

How Akums is working towards healthcare and wellness?

Our total business is in healthcare and wellbeing of the people. Being the manufacturer of the medicines, it goes to the patients, hospitals, and the whole healthcare sector. In the same way, nutraceuticals or herbal products and the cosmaceutical range that we manufacture are used for people's wellness because we are not into color cosmetics, we only manufacture dermatology medicines.

How is your market in India, and what plans do you have to expand abroad?

We manufacture 12 per cent of the country's pharmaceuticals. Our broad base is in Haridwar, but we make a maximum of medicines for PAN India. It gets distributed to different companies or partners. When it comes to exports, we can cater to only a small portion because we were fully focused on the domestic market till now. We have also been taking approvals from many countries abroad to start our market there. So currently, we have been approved for two plants in the European market, further will be approved for more two, and our market strategies are also going on for that.

So you aren't planning to expand to the US markets?

No, not immediately! But in future, we can. Currently, we are in 50+ countries, and in next one year, we are targeting 80+ countries through approvals. So, the US will also come into the picture, but much later.

As Akums is also into manufacturing Ayurvedic products, please throw some light on its production.

There is a single plant for Ayurveda, and the remaining thirteen plants are of allopathy. We are into Ayurveda but not in a huge quantum. So, we have wellness products, like tonics, healthy lifestyle-based, products that boost immunity and some treatment products also.

During covid-19 what has been the scenario of your industry?

Actually, during the pandemic, we had to increase our workforce because there was a sudden hike in the demand for paracetamols, cough syrups, etc. Our production and distribution rised three to four times. So, in that case, manufacturing increased in our industry during covid by keeping all the protocols in mind.

So as manufacturing increased during covid, was there any help or support from the state government at that time?

There was state government's support, specifically if we say during the lockdown because we bring into essential commodities, and we had to keep our operations going. So conveying the message to the government bodies that who are allowed for movements and who are not, was a proactive step by the government. Then came allied industries like packaging and raw materials who got identified and permitted by the government to keep their operations going. So identifying necessary movements and stopping unnecessary movements during covid was a supportive side of the state government.

What do you have to say on the veterinary market as you also manufacture veterinary products?

The veterinary market is growing in India. Those medicines also have the same facilities and ingredients but the quantum has to increase as per the size of the animal. So veterinary products are specialised in themselves and are boosting in a good way, and will keep boosting ahead.

By visiting your plant, we got to know that you are planning to include nasal medicines soon, so have you thought of manufacturing nasal vaccines too for covid?

No, we are not into and don't want to go into vaccines immediately at least. In the nasal it is seen that medicine can go into the body very easily, so we were not into nasals before, but now we will be manufacturing nasal sprays, nasal drops, etc soon.

What would have been the quarter results of Akums in 2022?

The Q1 and Q2 of 2021-22 have been at par, we did not book much growth in it. But if we take 2020-21 as the base year, we can see a good growth of above 25 per cent as compared to 2021-22.

Do you have any policies for your employees' welfare?

We do have a lot of upcoming policies for our employees' wellness. The first is to increase their employability, that is how they can grow from workers to an operator, so we will have a skill centre for that. Plus, we have planned to fund fifty non-graduate employees every year for their graduation degree. Apart from that, we already have general schemes for our employees.

What's your next move in the business?

Recently, we are working on to set up a new plant in Haridwar for gummies, that is chewable medicines. They are very much in demand these days and will be pharma and nutraceutical-based. So we have invested Rs 12 crore for this ongoing project.