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Boots Piramal working to retain visibility

28-May-2004
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Boots Piramal working to retain visibility

From analgesics such as Aspro and Saridon to skin-related products such as Clearasil and Lacto Calamine — the Boots Piramal basket comprises a clutch of brands with high recall, though visibility has suffered on account of the increasing clutter of similar products on shop-shelves.

And with more fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) majors getting into the over-the-counter (OTC) category "with all four paws" — Boots Piramal is looking to battle competition through a strategy that combines the streamlining of distribution, pricing and segmentation.

"Boot's products are largely sold in chemist shops, as against an FMCG product that can be sold freely. Products such as Strepsils and Clearsil still have a distribution restriction and cannot be sold outside a chemist," points out Mr Abhijit Sanjal, CEO, Boots Piramal Healthcare Pvt Ltd.

Boots Piramal Healthcare is a 51:49 joint-venture between Boots Healthcare International and Nicholas Piramal India Ltd.

A section of pharma companies are pushing for certain categories of drugs to be brought into the OTC category. While the Government is yet to take a call on the issue, such an initiative would free the distribution restriction on products that are not ethical drugs or medicines sold only on the basis of prescriptions.

While the visibility of other brands are being beefed up through improved distribution or line extensions, Aspro - the aspirin brand from the company has seen it's sales come down to about Rs 40 lakh now.

Given that aspirin is under price-control, not too much investment had been made in the past to promote the brand, he said.

However, Mr Sanyal ruled out any talks of putting the brand on the block and said that they would continue to promote the brand in specific markets and through below the line activities.

Other brands from the Boot's stable, such as Strepsils and Sweetex are also being similarly promoted, he said. Meanwhile, to promote Clearasil, Boot's acne prevention and treatment brand for teenagers - the company has brought in some of it's globally popular line-extensions.

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