The Sikkim Chemist Association (SCA), an affiliate of the All India Organisation of Chemists & Druggists (AIOCD), is planning to enter into agreement with local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies for direct purchase of finished products through direct distributorship from each company.
To start this new venture, the chemist association will turn into a Cooperative Society form of business organization after the next general body in May, it is learnt.
The decision of the association has come in the wake of difficulties presently faced by the retailers in procuring medicines from the distributors in Siliguri in West Bengal, where most of the distribution companies are located. The local manufacturers in Sikkim have not given distributorship to any business agency in Gangtok or in any other place in the state, said Rajesh Somani, general secretary of the SCA.
In a telephonic interview with Pharmabiz, Somani from Gangtok said, for taking direct distributorship from the local companies, the association will hold its general body meeting once the lockdown ends. At present 45 pharma manufacturing companies are operating in the state and most of them are located at Rangpo, a town bordering to West Bengal. As per the plan of the SCA, it will first turn the heat on some of their members to become distributors of the local companies. If no one comes forward with strong business strategies, the association itself will think of becoming a distributor of all medicines manufactured by the local companies by forming a cooperative society.
“We are completely dependent on distributors in Siliguri. Because of the lockdown there were some difficulties in the beginning, but later they were partly solved. However, for an uninterrupted supply network we need local distributors. So we are thinking of becoming distributors. If our members are interested the association will support. SCA wants to give priority to its members,” said the secretary.
Talking on his plan for the monopoly of pharmaceutical trade in Sikkim, Somani said they will sign tie-ups with the manufacturers, some of whom are major players in the country. The trade leaders will hold preliminary discussion with the company heads as soon as the lockdown is over. According to him, the association-controlled distribution will generate more quality employment opportunities for people with pharmacy background and marketing capabilities in addition to all time availability of medicines.
When asked about SCA, Somani said the Sikkim Chemists Association comprises only 150 members, but there are 50 more retailers who are not members of the association.
The government of the tiny Himalayan state is giving huge incentives to pharma companies with a view to make Sikkim an investment destination in pharmaceuticals. According to industry sources, they are getting a capital subsidy Rs. 5 crore, transport subsidies, insurance and interest subsidies and other incentives like budgetary support under GST and income tax haven for ten years since commercial production. Most of the manufacturers are engaged in the production of all kinds of medicines and marketing all over India.