Cipla Limited: Taking Inhalation Therapy to the Masses
Cipla Limited was a pioneer in inhalation therapy in India, and was globally acclaimed for its range of inhalers for obstructive airway diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In 2014, the company wanted to take inhalation therapy to the masses, especially in the rural and semi-urban areas of the country. This required strengthening its reach at the general practitioner level (among primary care physicians) and extending optimal medical care to patients who were otherwise sub-optimally treated. The company proposed a further increase to the sales and marketing budget, but the head of Cipla Limited's respiratory division had a different viewpoint. He proposed establishing a lateral structure of doctors as knowledge experts to urge practitioners to adopt inhalation therapy, as he had done in a successful trial in Delhi. The company was looking forward to implementing this second option across the country, but there were various issues to resolve with such an unconventional approach, and challenges were anticipated in the plan's implementation and expansion. Servjaeta Verma is affiliated with Institute of Management Studies Ghaziabad.