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Terror strike: Drug firms may lose outsourcing deals

BS Reporter in Mumbai | November 29, 2008 14:30 IST

Indian drug makers may lose out on outsourcing contracts as overseas pharmaceutical companies defer their visits to the country in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks, according to industry experts.

"The drug industry could see short-term setbacks, especially in the field of outsourcing," said Sujay Shetty, head of Life Sciences, PricewaterhouseCoopers. "Executives of global companies may be asked to refrain from coming to India and many planned visits have been cancelled."

Already, CPhI India, one of the largest global industry exhibitions that provides the drug makers an opportunity to secure contracts, has been postponed. The three-day exhibition was scheduled to begin at Bombay Exhibition Centre on Friday.

P-MEC India, a prominent event for the pharmaceutical machinery and equipment industry that was scheduled to begin at the same venue yesterday, has also been postponed.

"This decision has been taken in consultation with the industry and local authorities in the interest of the safety and security of visitors and exhibitors alike," informed the organisers CMP Information, a part of the London-based United Business Media.

"Such repeated terrorist attacks will mar our business prospects, especially from Fortune 500 companies, who are closely observing the developments. Apart from the global meltdown, this will add more worries to our economic growth," said Ranjit Shahani, president, Indian Merchant's Chamber and vice-chairman and managing director of Novartis India [Get Quote].

Meanwhile, attendance was thin at the offices of most of the Mumbai drug makers for the second consecutive day, said company sources. Pharma companies such as Wockhardt, Cipla, Lupin and Glenmark [Get Quote] had closed their offices on Thursday following a series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai since Wednesday night. Industry sources said though the attacks may have an impact in the short-term, there will not have any long-term effect.

"This is a very unfortunate event that has shocked not just Mumbai city and the country but the entire world. At a time like this, it is important that we stand united against the mindless terror that is increasingly threatening to derail the economic gains that we have made as a country," said Glen Saldanha, chief executive officer and managing director of Glenmark.

Industry experts also said India's loss could be China's gain, especially in securing outsourcing. The developments could help China gains an edge as it has been terrorism free and has appeared more stable in the current meltdown, noted Ajit Kamath, chairman and managing director, Arch Pharmalabs.

"India will have to assure the international community of tough measures, both on the security and economic front," he noted.

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