De-regulation of Pharma Industry and De-control of drug prices will ensure innovations and development- Farid Hassan


 Innovation becomes a part of DNA if people are creative

De-regulation of Pharma Industry and De-control
of drug prices will ensure innovations
and development- Farid Hassan

Character, Competence and Confidence can work
in any company anywhere in the world

Lead by authenticity as personal authenticity
bring you lot of power

By Shaukat Ali Jawaid

LAHORE AND KARACHI: We are living in changing times and there is a disruptive change. It is unpredictable. However, it is exciting to see turnaround and be with the wining team. Innovation becomes a part of DNA if people are creative. For investors it is good news, business is growing, increased sales, earning and more profits. In my career I have never seen there is a problem in these journeys. This was stated by Mr. Farid Hassan, a world renowned personality who is known for his Turnaround and Transformation of the companies he headed.  During his career he has lead many companies including multinational pharmaceutical giants like Sandoz, Wyeth, Pharmacia Upjohn and Schering Plough. He was speaking on “Leading through turbulent times” at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) which was also linked with Video-conferencing facility at Institute of Business Administration, City Campus Karachi. The meeting at both the places was very well attended by chief executives of various business concerns including pharmaceutical industry.

Mr. Farid Hassan

Continuing Mr. Farid Hassan said that one should determine one’s clear end goals and communicate where you are going. People have to answer this question throughout the organization. A new leader most often tries to get rid of people. I believe in the first two hundred days, do less, listen and talk to the people, you can learn a lot. Then you can see vision where company is going. What is the priority product in your organization?  One should know how to develop a strategy to win. If you do your homework, you will move much faster. It is extremely important to win over the people; only then people will follow you.

People, Culture and Execution, Mr. Farid Hassan opined are equal to success.  Passion and courage pays. I use different power tools. A culture you create in the company will make it strong. CEOs come and go but the culture you have created in the company will last and the company will continue to grow. Paint a picture for the people so that they have a passion for the company. Have loyal customers.  While heading one of the pharmaceutical companies I told them that many innovative products can come through this company and we can go around the word for business instead looking at the US market alone.If you show Vision to the people and make them believe in it, everyone will be ready to become a part of the winning team. Repair the company, show it around, and build it piece by piece. There are different aspects in this journey. People should know the whole journey to get excited. People, who are more competent and stronger than you, should be selected as NO.2. Do not feel threatened. Get them it will help you. Try to have A category culture at top as    B & C will never become A, Mr. Farid Hassan stated.

Speaking about the important qualities which are essential in the front runner Managerial team, Mr. Farid Hassan mentioned that First they should be good in their own functional area.  Secondly they should be a leader with leadership qualities. Thirdly they must be team player. Divisions do not like each other. Review the company culture. People have to work for the success of others, create a team culture. Promote Can Do culture. Find a problem and solve it. Do not talk about it, he remarked.

Mr. Farid Hassan was of the view that competent, passionate and courageous people can do anything which can be done anywhere in the world. People should be proud to be working for a company. They are members of a team of winners. Remember extraordinary team will get extra ordinary results. Good leader can build confidence in people. When right people and culture are in place, it is success. People should know how to get things done. Execution is important. People at top must communicate.  For a CEO who has over fifty to sixty thousand people working all over the world, the only way to get the organization move forward in such a situation is share with them with excellent communication. This is the secret I have. In one of the organizations I had eight thousand frontline managers.  I had to get them on my side if they understand my strategy and 80% of the people should be able to manage it without PowerPoint. Every employ should understand their contribution will make a different. Each person in organization matters irrespective of rank hence give them respect. Sustain the momentum and build on that momentum Mr. Farid Hassan stated.

Mr. Farid Hassan advised the Chief Executives present to lead by authenticity.  Know the values behaviour you care about. Know emotions. Personal authenticity brings lot of power to you. Authentic leader builds Trust. Role Modeling is also important. Develop a habit of wining again and again. People should be encouraged to earn trust among them. Rotate the people from one department to another department. Rotate them between Sales, Marketing, Research and Development.  They complain against each other. By doing so their negativity goes away. I used to tell my staff go and sit and work with doctors to know how they work.  Yet another important thing was that one needs to ensure psychological safety for the people who speak up. We encourage people to speak up. Each employ has my mail and they can write to me. Open system makes a big difference. When I address the staff, it is termed as a Dialogue and not an address by the CO. Stay flexible andcelebrate victories. People have to keep on moving.  At the same time, he cautioned that it was very easy for a successful company to get arrogant.

Talking about the success story of Schering Plough, a pharmaceutical concern which he headed from 2003-2009, Mr. Farid Hassan said that after one and a half year our sales were up, we concentrated on the market outside USA. We had successful entry in Pakistan while other multinational pharmaceutical companies were already here. Merck decided to get us and offered 44% premium. Earlier we have acquired Organon which helped us shore our profits and we also had access to many new research molecules. Merck and Schering plough was a big merger. Business, Mr. Farid Hassan said, has an important social purpose. Maintain good contact with the society.  New drugs help fight diseases. For many people working with me proved to be a learning laboratory and many of them later became CO of leading companies.

Use of health information technology is growing. It is not the end of your professional training.  The real college is your Life College. Be proud of the sector you work in. Management of many rare and difficult diseases like multiple sclerosis is now possible. Many new treatments are now being discovered and these diseases are being tackled. Advances in medicine has enabled that of the babies born today, almost 50% of them will live for hundred years. It is reality.

Focus on your job and learn aggressively. It is amazing how people see you. Capture the opportunities that come your way. Listen to people what they have to say. Each one of us had a different journey. Keep your moral values associated near you. Character, competence and confidence can work in any company anywhere in the world. Working should be a fun not a job only then you are more successful, Mr. Farid Hassan remarked.


The presentation was followed by lively discussion participated by audience both from Lahore and Karachi.  Mr. Haroon Qasim from Karachi asked about the image of the Pharma industry in USA. He pointed out that increase in drug prices was being discussed in USA.  It is being said that why a particular drug costs one thousand US dollars per tablet in United States while its generic equivalent was available in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent at a fraction of its price?  It is hurting the image of pharmaceutical industry globally.

Responding to this Mr. Farid Hassan said that some politicians have taken it up. Unfortunately both Republicans and Democrats are talking about it. They have picked up some selected products and selected companies. One of the companies has increased prices too much. But overall image of the Pharma industry is very good in USA. New drugs are being discovered. Now 95% cure of Hepatitis-C is possible which a great breakthrough is. At the time of elections such things do happen. Mr. Farid Hassan suggested that sending the message to the decision makers is important. Your behaviour and behaviour of people at top you are able to attract matters a lot. Of course everyone wants cost effective healthcare for the society.

One of the participants from Lahore remarked that national pharmaceutical companies were faced with pricing structure. At this Mr. Farid Hassan advised that the companies should focus on overseas market where the price is good as compared to the price they have been allowed in Pakistan. Go for exports aggressively. We live in a time where we have to change. Remain vigilant and do not rest on your laurels.

Role of drug regulatory authorities also came under discussion. One of the participants remarked that strict control on drug prices has created lot of problems for the Pharma industry.  Under such an environment, it is very difficult to work in Pakistan and no one seems to be interested to put the things right. Mr. Farid Hassan said that the answer to all these is De-regulation of the Pharma Industry and De-control of drug prices.It is essential and in the best interest of everyone in the long run. It is seen that in countries where there is more regulation more controls, there are no innovations. But with de-regulation and decontrol, there are lot of innovations. It also ensures further progress and development in all sectors. Mr. Farid Hassan further stated that it was not the bureaucrats only but the politicians as well who are responsible for the present state of affairs in Pakistan.  Young people can be more creative as compared to our generation. Local industry should collaborate with scientific research institutions and create innovative products.

Local Pharma industry, it was further stated was suffocating. It is really passing through truly turbulent times in Pakistan. Indian government encouraged young Indians working oversea, gave them incentives and it is they who have brought about a revolution in India. They were asked to come back and start working in India.

Academic institutions, Mr. Farid Hassan stated, have an important role to play. Politicians have to be more pro-innovation if we have to make any progress and development. Some decisions have to be taken even if there is lot of haemorrhage. Try to build sources of information. I had lot of people indifferent positions who will talk to me openly. I had lot of access to lot of people at different levels. Make a right decision at the right time. I have learning abilities and I have learnt a lot from many people. In the days to come we will see lot of better software in information technology. In Life Sciences   Biotechnology products and Gene therapy is the future. We in Pakistan have lot of good people just by improving the environment we can do wonders, Mr. Farid Hassan concluded.

Moderator of the session in his concluding remarks said that Mr. Farid Hassan in his presentation has laid too much emphasis on culture. He talked about the anatomy of the organization which is closely linked to the physiology of the organization. Culture brings a psychological change in the organization which is a long lasting change. Culture can be a competitive advantage. There was a sense of optimism in his talk. He talked about the strength the organization and not its weaknesses.  Positive attitude energizes the organization and one should know how to energize their organization.

In the end Mr. Babar Ali in his brief address thanked the speaker and said “we need such people in Pakistan who can turn around the country from the turbulent times”. He also requested Mr. Farid Hassan to visit Pakistan more often so that people can benefit from his expertise. Unfortunately, the video conferencing arrangements were not perfect.  Participants at Karachi could neither see the slides nor was it possible to hear the questions being asked from Lahore. As a whole, audiovisual arrangements left much to be desired and one hopes the organizers will look into it so that in future such problems are avoided.

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