Expanding footprint

Written by M Sarita Varma | Updated: Jul 3 2013, 07:26am hrs
Contraceptive-maker HLL Lifecare, aiming to be a R10,000-crore company by 2020, is taking its pharmacy and laboratory business across the country. In the planned shift of its brand profile from one of the worlds top condom-manufacturers to a total family healthcare public sector undertaking, the mini-ratna now runs hospital chains, diagnostic clinics, and hospital management as well as MRI centres across India.

When AIIMS-New Delhi decided to outsource one of its pharmacies this year, it chose HLL Lifecare. The PSU's Lifecare centres give specialist pharmacy and retailing surgical implants, surgical consumables, essential lifesaving drugs, ophthalmic medicines and accessories.

Currently, the company enjoys a capacity to cater to 60% of the essential drugs demand in India. In a phased manner, we'll open pharmacies that sustain on reasonable pricing at all major government hospitals in the country, HLL Lifecare Ltd chairman and managing director M Ayyappan told FE.

The first phase will focus on opening generic and branded pharma outlets in partnership with state governments. The company, in partnership with the government of Odisha, will soon open Hindlabs MRI scan centres at Medical Colleges in Burla and Berhampur. These centres will have 1.5 Tesla MRI scan machines. HLL has been working on tie-ups with Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal governments for establishing affordable and reliable pharma outlets and lab facilities.

In partnership with the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), HLL will make available single window, quality and convenient diagnostic services comprising a main lab and six collection centres to CGHS beneficiaries in Bengaluru. Its CGHS-backed services have already reached Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. Ayyappan pointed out that the CGHS network in New Delhi provides services at the doorstep of the beneficiaries through collection centres.

As part of its diversification plans, the company last year floated a wholly-owned subsidiary, HLL Biotech Ltd, to execute a R594-crore Integrated Vaccine Complex (IVC) project in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu. The first phase of the IVC should be completed within two years. With an annual capacity of

585 million doses, this plant will manufacture pentavalent combination (DPT plus Hep B plus Hib), BCG, measles, Hepatitis B, Human Rabies, Hib and Japanese Encephalitis

(JE) vaccines in the first phase. It will also have capacity for 140 million doses of Hep B, 20 million doses of human rabies and 25 million doses of JE vaccines.

The state-of-the-art WHO-pre-qualified facility in Tamil Nadu would be the first of its kind in the public sector. It will also be competent in capacity and expertise to manufacture futuristic meningococcal, rotaviral, dengue and pneumococcal vaccines in its multi-bacterial and multi-viral facilities to meet any epidemic or pandemic situations, says Ayyappan.

After completing the revamping of the public sector vaccine manufacturing unit, the Central Research Institute (CRI) at Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh, HLL Lifecare got a fresh mandate from the Union health ministry to give a new lease of life to two major vaccine labs in Tamil Naduthe BCG Vaccine Laboratory, Guindy and the Pasteur Institute of India (PII), Coonor. For these revamp operations, HLL has been sanctioned R213-crore.

HLL Lifecare, which is setting up a sanitary napkins factory in Belgaum, Karnataka, and a string of Healthspring hospitals throughout the country, is still one of the top condom manufacturers in the world with exports to 120 countries. The mini-ratna, for all its non-family-planning forays, accounts for over 10% of global condom production.