Ranbaxy seeks to convince Jaslok, Medicity on quality of its medicines

Faced with the prospect of losing major hospital clients, Ranbaxy Laboratories will hold ‘goodwill meetings’ with some leading chains, sources said.

The trouble-stricken company has sought appointment with at least two major hospitals -- Mumbai-based Jaslok and Gurgaon-based Medanta Medicity. 

This move comes in the wake of Jaslok recently issuing an advisory asking its doctors to avoid prescribing drugs manufactured by Ranbaxy.

Some others, including Medanta, are reviewing the matter.

Around a fortnight ago, faced with allegations of selling adulterated and unapproved drugs, Ranbaxy had pleaded guilty to making fraudulent statements to the US regulator about testing of medicines and of violating other norms.

The company agreed to pay a $500-million penalty to US authorities.

An email questionnaire to Ranbaxy did not elicit any response. Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director of Medanta Medicity, confirmed that Ranbaxy officials were visiting the hospital on Thursday for a meeting.

“It is natural that the India team will meet them (Jaslok) to address their concern.

"This is always done for any sales account that we lose,” a company source told Business Standard.

“There is an overall image-building initiative globally.” Jaslok put up a notice four days ago saying Ranbaxy medicines wouldn’t be available at the hospital and doctors should, as far as possible, not prescribe these drugs.

The hospital has, however, not given any reason.

Calls and messages sent to Jaslok CEO R R Pulgaonkar remained unanswered. According to the source, hospitals are key accounts and taken very seriously.

Both Jaslok and Medanta are also significant as these are leading healthcare facilities of the country, treating not only celebrities and high-profile patients, but also catering to medical tourism.

Losing such accounts could hurt Ranbaxy considerably.

Besides, it might lead to other hospitals also taking precautionary measures, pulling down sales in some of its major markets in the coming quarters.

During an interview with Business Standard last week, Ranbaxy chief and managing director Arun Sawhney had said the worst was over and the company was determined to plan its strategy for the future. 

“I can stand behind every pill... and say these are as per submissions, they are of the standards that conform with the submissions made,” Sawhney had said.

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