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Pfizer to focus on innovations in India

A day after Pfizer Inc. announced that it would buy Botox maker Allergan Plc in a $160 billion deal, its Indian arm said that the company’s focus in India is to grow through innovation and increase the number of patent registrations.

Lining up the focus areas, S. Sridhar, executive director of global established products and distribution of Pfizer, said the company is looking into therapeutic drugs in India, with a special focus on vaccines, anti-infectors and pain management.Pfizer

“In the current market, we have a lot of potential. Our products are well suited for India. We want to have more innovations in India and patents in India,” Sridhar said.

He spoke on the sidelines of a press conference on Tuesday but declined to comment on the Allergan deal. The acquisition will create the world’s largest drug maker and shift Pfizer’s headquarters to Ireland.

This is the largest ever deal in the pharmaceutical space, eclipsing Pfizer’s purchase of Warner-Lambert Co. in 2000 for $116 billion.

According to the annual report of Pfizer India, in 2014-15, the company reported a 12% revenue growth, while profit from operations grew by 17%.
The top brands in vaccines, vitamins and minerals, respiratory and blood-related therapeutic areas—Prevenar 13, Becosules, Corex cough syrup and Folvite respectively—belong to Pfizer.

About the challenges that the company is facing in India, Aijaz Tobaccowalla, managing director of Pfizer India, said in the annual report, “The pharmaceuticals industry challenges that had impact on the core of its business. The most significant of these was the imposition of price controls on drugs beyond the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).
Work also started on the revision of NLEM itself with any new drug falling under automatic price control. These developments underscore the unpredictability of pricing policies for pharmaceutical sector in India.”

Allergan’s annual report for 2013 listed India, Turkey, South Africa and Brazil as some of the emerging growth markets for it.

“The strong results we have been able to deliver in China, Japan and other emerging markets demonstrate the value of focusing on the unique opportunities in these regions,” said Ian Bell, president of Asia-Pacific of Allergan in the report, the company’s most recent.

Pfizer’s acquisition of US-based pharmaceutical and medical devices company Hospira in February this year gave a huge boost to the company’s growth prospects in India.

As part of the $17 billion deal, the pharmaceutical major added three manufacturing facilities from Hospira in India.

“The fruits of the Allergan acquisition will be seen in India in the longer run. There is no immediate impact of the merger as far as India is concerned,” said a Mumbai-based analyst.

On Tuesday, Pfizer, along with the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi announced the launch of an incubation accelerator initiative co-created by Pfizer and the Foundation for Innovation and Technology at IIT-Delhi.
For innovators seeking support to translate their healthcare ideas into patents, the programme will provide two years of residential incubation at IIT-Delhi and a funding of up toRs.50 lakh for each innovator.

Pfizer’s acquisition of Allergan and its potential move to Ireland is the biggest case of a US company reincorporating overseas for tax reasons.
The deal has kicked off a political storm in the US with President Barack Obama calling such inversion deals “unpatriotic”.

Hillary Clinton, the Democrat front-runner in the 2016 US presidential race has promised to take steps to prevent such deals, while Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump also raised his concerns over the mega pharma deal.

The US corporate tax rate of 35% is among the world’s highest, compared with Ireland’s 12.5%.

The two pharma companies expect to close the transaction by the second half of 2016.

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