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Celebrity Doctors: After Cinema & Sports, Brand Ambassadors May Well Come Medical Veterans

photo (1)Pharmaleaders Research reveal the rising interest of the Healthcare Sector’s aggressive campaign to rope Celebrity Doctors. Dr Mukesh Hariawala, Dr Shuba Dharmana, Dr Devi Shetty, Dr Naresh Trehan top the List.

Celebrity Doctors: After Cinema & Sports, Brand Ambassadors May Well Come Medical Veterans
Maharashtra, Mumbai, Thursday 6th September 2012 : In the run up to the 5th Annual Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit & Business Leadership Awards 2012 ( ) organized by Pharmaleaders Group ( ) in association with Pharmexcil, BSE India, IBEF & host of other trade bodies & pressure group in healthcare sector with the support of Ministry of Commerce & Industries in the commercial capital of India on 21st September 2012 at Hotel Hilton, Mumbai, India, the research & survey conducted by Breakfastnews TV ( )& Pharmaleaders Magazine bring out some startling results. We all know that in a country like India where Brand Loyalty largely stem from endorsements from Brand Icons largely from Bollywood, Sport stars mostly from Cricketing world. With the marketing becoming tougher & competative, many healthcare companies are revisiting their marketing plans & strategies in order to have a grip in the market. Indian Healthcare Market is largely dominated by endorsements from the doctors by the Medical Representatives in updating them on the benefits of the products. However, in OTC market, the scenario is different & huge money is spent on print & Electronic Advertisements & the big fish here are matinee idols & Sport stars.

India is a country where people love to live in dreams. They worship celebrities & build temples for them without knowing their real background. Celebrities may be cricket stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Mahindra Singh Dhoni or film stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, and Shah Rukh Khan etc. They are treated as God. Marketers use this very proposition so as to influence their target customers, maybe existing or potential ones. For this they rope in these celebrities and give them whopping amount of money. But the bigger issue is says Satya Brahma, Editor-In-Chief of Pharmaleaders “Is it good for pharmaceutical companies to pay celebrities to be spokespeople to raise awareness of medical conditions?, also Given the power of of celebrities to influence people, pharmaceutical companies have come out with a innovative & cost effective plans, that of roping Celebrity Doctors & Medical Wizards”. The Indian OTC pharmaceuticals market generated total revenues of $1.8 billion in 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% for the period spanning 2006-2010. -Vitamins and minerals sales proved the most lucrative for the Indian OTC pharmaceuticals market in 2010, generating total revenues of $471.2 million, equivalent to 25.8% of the market’s overall value. -The performance of the market is forecast to decelerate, with an anticipated CAGR of 4.6% for the five-year period 2010-2015, which is expected to lead the market to a value of $2.3 billion by the end of 2015 said Satya.

The Indian pharmaceutical sector has come a long way, from being a small player in 1970, to becoming a prominent provider of healthcare products, meeting almost 95 per cent of the country‘s pharmaceutical needs today. Pharmaleaders Research reveals that the pharmaceutical industry in India has a unique and exciting opportunity to grow & prosper. India accounts for 8 % of global pharmaceutical production. It is the third largest in terms of volume and fourteenth in terms of value. Indian firms produce about 60000 generic brands across 60 therapeutic categories and 500 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) approximately. India boasts an export of generic drugs worth US $11 billion and the generic drug market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 17 per cent between 2010-11 and 2012-13.2 $5.5 bn in 2000 to US $ 25 bn in 2020.

Indian Pharma Majors such as Ranbaxy, Paras Pharma, Elder Pharmaceuticals, Mankind, Alkem labs, Nicholas Piramal, Abbott, Pfizer, GSK etc spend a huge money on Celebrity Branding. Ranbaxy reportedly paid huge amount for its star Brands Voilini & Revital to stars such as Salman Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Tisca Chopra & lately Sonali Bendre. Sources close to Pharmaleaders reveal that the endorsements give huge returns given Indian typical mindset & lack of wider knowledge. However lately, Pharma Companies balance sheet reflected more money to Celebrity Fees than sometimes a unit’s manufacturing cost.

To combat these challenges, Pharmaceutical & Medical Companies have started out looking at leading faces & credible voices in the medical practice whose knowledge on the product & endorsement appeal has a bigger impact than the Superstars said an Ad Agency roped in for finding star Doctors after giving a try in Sports & Cinema. “Given the uncertainty of Star Appeal when they run in controversies or out of form players result in negative results & moreover they have bigger problems, egos & status” said Tanya who heads a Mumbai based Ad Agency. She admitted that next ibn line will be the Doctors who will have the mass appeal & their fees will be lesser compared to bigger fees by the Stars. It is no surprising that more & more Pharma Companies are getting into OTC segment to reach out to masses & pocket a bigger share”.

With these objectives, to know the pulse of consumers, Pharmaleaders undertook a research to find out the reasons why Doctors are increasingly becoming the favorite for the Drug & FMCG Companies. How about celebrities being paid to promote specific OTC treatments? Is that OK? Do such celebrity spokespeople provide a good return on investment for pharmaceutical marketers?. These are the questions that come to mind. So this prompted Pharmaleaders Researchers to know the pulse of people.

Pharma leaders sample profiles included the demographic characteristics of the respondent consumers covered in the analysis. Demographic factors like age, education, occupation, income, family size have a direct influence on the product/ brand choice. To ascertain the views of both male and female consumers, almost equal numbers of respondents are selected for the study. On the basis of age, the respondents are classified into five categories viz. below 20 years, 21-30 years, 31-40 years, 41-50 years, and above 50 years. Around 39 percent respondents are in the age group of 21-30 years. Another 27 percent are in the age group of 31-40 years. Around 16 percent are in the age group of 41-50 years, followed by above 50 years (13 percent), and below 20 years (5 percent). It is observed that majority of respondents comprising 73 percent are either graduates or post graduates. The remaining 27 percent have below graduation educational background. It is also observed that private employees comprise 38 percent of sample followed by housewives (25 percent), and government employees (18 percent). The remaining are students, businessmen and professionals. It is found that 43 percent respondents are in the middle income group (Rs. 10,001 to 20,000/pm). At the same time, 31 percent belong to low income group (Below Rs. 10,000/ pm). The remaining 26 percent belong to high income category (above Rs. 20,000/pm). It is seen that around 63 percent respondents have 3-4 members in their families. Around 26 percent have more than 4 three members. Another 11 percent have two or less members. It is observed that 62 percent respondents spend below Rs 300/per month on a vitamin product. The remaining 38 percent respondents spend above Rs 200/- per month. This gives occupation wise, income wise, and lifecycle wise distribution of sample consumers of Pharmaceutical Over The Counter Products (OTC). The behavior of urban respondents towards OTC products in terms of influencing factors such as buying habits, and brand loyalty are also analyzed.

The Respondents who were asked to answer, given the choice, whom will they look at their choice to influence their buying habits, the list were endless with big medical names such as Dr Ramakant Panda, Dr Bhattacharya, Dr Sidharth Shah, Dr N.S.Laud etc. But close to the maximum choices who will have mass appeal & who topped the research are celebrity Indo-American Heart Surgeon Dr Mukesh Hariawala, Eminent cardiologists Dr Naresh Trehan & Devi Shetty. Dr Shuba Dharmana who is a Dermatologist appeared favorite for endorsing skin & wellness products. But the big question is will these Doctors risk attaching their names to a specific company or a Brand, that time can answer.


Pharmaleaders is India’s first opinion based & research driven bi-monthly magazine & has a decade of relentless reporting in Pharma Journalism in an unbiased, fearless & independent way. Over the last one decade, The Magazine has covered some of the biggest voices in the healthcare Industry. Available both in digital & printed format, Pharmaleaders has emerged out as a leading title in voicing the opinion of the healthcare industry.


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