Reducing the Cost of Products in India: “If you fail, fail small”, K.V. Subramaniam, CEO Reliance Life Sciences

As CEO of Reliance Life Sciences, one thing preys on K.V. Subramaniam’s mind more than anything else: “how do I get the cost right?” It is something that weighs heavy on every bioprocessing professional, but for Subramaniam’s market in India, where only around 5% of the population has health insurance, competitive pricing is imperative.

Speaking to us at BioProcess International 2015 Subramaniam explains:

“Regulators want to see much lower prices, so there is price control in India on some products. I’m also increasingly seeing a pressure in other parts of the world… Government budgets all over the world are under constraints based on socio-economic conflicts, so they want to see more bang for their buck.”

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With 13 years of experience in the market with Reliance, Subramaniam has developed a number of strategies to reduce the risks, preaching the advantages of both caution and diversity. He advises that “It is very important to get your business model right; you cannot put all your bets on a few products”, adding it is “better to move in a measured, gradual manner – do things small and then see how it succeeds, then if you fail, you fail small”.

Subramaniam sees innovation – “at the product development level and at the manufacturing level in terms of getting higher scales of yield” – as key to improving productivity and driving progress. Innovation should drive the ability to manufacture “different products from the same facility so you get much better flexibility and reduce your capital investment. As a result of all this, you’re able to get a number of products at competitive prices.”

Though the pursuit of lower and lower pricing is a constant challenge, for Subramaniam, it’s vital to keep the patient at the forefront: “innovation is a means to an end, and that end is in seeing how the patient benefits”. However, once you get this right the scope for growth in India is huge: “From our experience if you have consistent prices and consistent availability the markets grow because the underlying opportunity is very significant.”

Watch the full interview above.

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