Blog #22 – Wyeth and the World Around……

Asrar’s Note: Dear Pharma Veterans! I have created this space for ‘Pharma Veterans’; all of us. I am filling this space to begin with, to keep it moving. You are most cordially invited to write your thoughts/ ideas/ experiences. Please send these to me at asrar@asrarqureshi.com . Your contributions will be published promptly and without editing. Please join the Community and the Movement. Like other MNCs, Wyeth also had long serving people. My manager Sharaf Iqbal had previously worked in Bahawalpur and Multan. We knew each other. Most other colleagues working at Lahore were not known to me previously, but they were all cooperative with each other. Along with the pharmaceutical products, we also promoted SMA and S26, the two infant milk formula products. During that time, milk formula promotion was open. These could also be advertised through media. Major companies in this area were Wyeth, Abbott, Mead Johnson and Nutricia. A single Japanese formula ‘MEIJI’ had been growing rapidly

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Blog #21 – People Talk……

Asrar’s Note: Dear Pharma Veterans! I have created this space for ‘Pharma Veterans’; all of us, not just me. I am filling this space to begin with, in order to keep it moving. You are most cordially invited to write your thoughts/ ideas/ experiences. Please send these to me at asrar@asrarqureshi.com  Your contributions will be published promptly and without editing. Please join the Community and the Movement. Sheikh Ejaz, District Manager of Lederle, was an outstanding person, distinct from others, in a class of his own. He came from a well-placed family settled in Bahawalpur. He had joined sales profession at an older age, probably at thirty-two. He was well read, head-strong, non-conformist, and rebellious. His expression was refined; he spoke very well and with authority. He had great flair for sales. As manager, he developed his team but gave them a lot of free hand. He took me in his car from Multan to Sahiwal and introduced me around.

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Blog #20 – Snapshot of Pharma Industry in early 80s

Asrar’s Note: Dear Pharma Veterans! I have created this space for ‘Pharma Veterans’; all of us, not just me. I am filling this space to begin with to keep it moving. You are most cordially invited to write your thoughts/ ideas/ experiences. Please send these to me at asrar@asrarqureshi.com . Your contributions will be published promptly and without editing. Please join the Community and the Movement. What did the industry look like in early 80s? Squibb (later Bristol Myers Squibb and now GSK) was big in cephalosporins. Velosef (cephradine) was top selling and expensive. A 500mg capsule sold for 11.40 rupees; very high price at that time. Squibb promoted and defended their product very aggressively and kept their position. Eli Lilly was also in Cephalosporin with Ceclor (cefaclor), Kefzol (cefazolin) and Keflin (cephalothin). Glaxo joined the race with Ceporex (cephalexin). Kefzol sold well but was only injectable. Ceclor and Ceporex were only oral. Velosef had the advantage that it was

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Blog #19 – Wanderings……

Asrar’s Note: Dear Pharma Veterans! I have created this space for ‘Pharma Veterans’; all of us, not just me. I am filling this space to begin with to keep it moving. You are most cordially invited to write your thoughts/ ideas/ experiences. Please send these to me at asrar@asrarqureshi.com . Your contributions will be published promptly and without editing. Please join the Community and the Movement. For the next year and half, I literally wandered around. I did not entirely go back to my home in Lahore. I divided my time between Lahore, Multan and Bahawalpur. I entered and exited Glaxo quickly. Then a colleague referred me to Sheikh Ejaz, District Manager Lederle. He had a vacancy in Sahiwal which I opted for. He said I had to go to Karachi for final interview. So, one afternoon, I embarked on Chenab Express from Bahawalpur to go to Karachi. The train had a problem on the way and reached Karachi eight

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Blog #18 – October 1979 … End of First Period

Asrar’s Note: Dear Pharma Veterans! I have created this space for ‘Pharma Veterans’; all of us, not just me. I am filling this space to begin with to keep it moving. You are most cordially invited to write your thoughts/ ideas/ experiences. Please send these to me at asrar@asrarqureshi.com . Your contributions will be published promptly and without editing. Please join the Community and the Movement. During October 1979, exactly after four years of joining, I left Hoechst. Though I worked for Reko for about four months before Hoechst, it was too short a time to feel much. I counted Hoechst as my first job. First job, like first love, carries huge emotional intensity. Despite the highs and lows, I loved Hoechst and felt a deep sense of belonging. I was quite disturbed and upset and angry, all at the same time. My attachment to Hoechst continued for long time. Even while working for other company, whenever I entered a

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Blog #17 – Inspirations and Counter-inspirations

Asrar’s Note: Dear Pharma Veterans! I have created this space for ‘Pharma Veterans’; all of us, not just me. I am filling this space to begin with to keep it moving. You are most cordially invited to write your ideas/ experiences. Please send these to me at asrar@asrarqureshi.com . Your contributions will be published promptly and without editing. Please join the Community and the Movement. At younger age, we are more impressionable. But at any age, inspiring people would get to us even if we try to resist. The account of Hoechst in 70s would not be complete without talking about Syed Khalid Manzar. SKM started in Lahore as medical rep and reached Karachi. When he interviewed me in March 1975, he was Field Sales Manager based at Karachi. He then became National Sales Manager. He was finally nominated to become the first Pakistani Pharma Head, which position was always occupied by a foreigner, mostly Germans. SKM was very hard

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Blog #16 – First Attempt to Settle in Karachi

Asrar’s Note: Dear Pharma Veterans! I have created this space for ‘Pharma Veterans’; all of us, not just me. I am filling this space to begin with to keep it moving. You are most cordially invited to write your ideas/ experiences. Please send these to me at asrar@asrarqureshi.com . Your contributions will be published promptly and without editing. Please join the Community and the movement. Since I first visited Karachi in 1975, I loved the city. I did not think of shifting to Karachi but when the opportunity arose, I took it without hesitation. Sometime in August 1979, our worthy NSM SK Manzar thought it would be better for me to go to Karachi. Like other MNCs, Hoechst also had head office at Karachi, and everyone understood that if you aspired to grow, you would end up in Karachi. I was single and unencumbered and did not have any problem in relocating. And so, I went to Karachi, still working

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Blog #15 – Why the Team Fell Apart?

Asrar’s Note: Dear Pharma Veterans! I have created this space for ‘Pharma Veterans’; all of us, not just me. I am filling this space to begin with, to keep it moving. You are most cordially invited to send/ write your ideas/ experiences. Please send these to me at asrar@asrarqureshi.com . Your contributions will be published promptly and without editing. Please join the Community and the movement. Our Multan team continued to slide down in terms of team cohesion, team work and team performance. We had not become a ‘manager’ as yet, but we had our views on management. I do not remember how right or wrong our thinking was, but we had some deep thinking anyway. I would like to look back and re-examine why a good, strong team fell apart. We start by seeing what made us into a ‘team’. Common Agenda: We followed the same purpose. We wanted to perform and achieve/exceed sales targets. We also wanted to

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Blog #14 – Multan… gard o garma, gada o goristan

Asrar’s Note: Dear Pharma Veterans! I have created this space for ‘Pharma Veterans’; all of us, not just me. I am filling this space to begin with to keep it moving. You are most cordially invited to write your ideas/ experiences. Please send these to me at asrar@asrarqureshi.com . Your contributions will be published promptly and without editing. Please join the movement. Multan was a very familiar place for me and I settled instantly. The old saying is that Multan has plenty of dust (gard), heat (garma), dervish/faqeer (gada) and graves/Mazars (goristan). I knew already as I had lived here four years earlier, and I had been coming here almost every week. Multan has lots of history and culture which you can enjoy if you spend time here. I did not have a permanent abode. I stayed with Javed Akhtar (now Rising Stars fame) for a short while. I also shared a house with a very fine person for some

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2018 – New Year Note

Dear Family, Friends, Colleagues, Acquaintances, and Viewers at large. Happy New Year. I Pray to Allah that the Year 2018 brings positive changes in an around us; that our beloved country becomes more peaceful, progressive and prosperous; that our roads are safer, and our homes are havens; that our children and family and friends are healthy and happy; that we learn more and grow more; that we aim for greatness and get it; and that we become a source of love and joy for everyone. I wish to thank you for reading and appreciating Pharma Veterans Blog. Your response is lovely and overwhelming. I bow in acknowledgement. Pharma Veterans is a space. It is a Blog now. It will have a website soon and more will follow. Pharma Veterans has been created for ALL PHARMA VETERANS. There are many veterans of Pharma Industry in Pakistan who have shaped this industry to bring it to what it is today. They are

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