Abbott India Limited: Serving People in their Pursuit of Healthy Lives

India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector. The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the third largest in terms of volume and thirteen largest in terms of value. Since 1910, Abbott India Limited has been one of the top contributors to the Indian pharmaceuticals market. In an interview with Insights Success, Venu Ambati, Managing Director of Abbott India Limited gave some insightful answers highlighting the influences made by his company to take healthcare towards newfound heights.
Question: Brief us about Abbott India Limited and what kinds of services, solutions or products are offered by Abbott at par with the current industry standards?
Answer: Headquartered in Mumbai, Abbott India Limited (AIL), is a publicly listed company and a subsidiary of Abbott, USA. At AIL, we offer high-quality trusted medicines across multiple therapeutic categories such as women’s health, gastroenterology, neurology, metabolic disorders, general care, vitamins, and vaccines. With an employee strength of more than 3000, we have a portfolio of over 110 brands for healthcare professionals that promote health and well-being for people across stages in life.
At AIL, we are all about helping you live the best life you can through good health. Whether it’s an ordinary headache or a more serious illness, we want people to get better fast, so they can go back to doing the things they love. In our pharmaceuticals business, we offer quality medicines for people in emerging markets. Our state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at Goa produces high volume and high quality formulations. We have over 15 brands in top position, and 3 brands in top 100, with a market-beating double-digit growth year-on-year.
We have an endless drive to bring meaningful innovation to our markets – in both medicines and the services that go along with them – to help people live healthier, fuller lives. We give people a reason to choose our medicines, and this model has led to consistent, exceptional growth.
Question: Which is the biggest challenge you faced in the industry and how did you overcome it?
Answer: For an industry that works towards improving people’s health, accessibility is a major issue. At Abbott, we aim to reach out to as many people as we can through several access-improving programs, and through technology, by helping doctors and patients communicate better. Digital interventions and technology play a great role here. For example, more than 160,000 doctors worldwide use Knowledge Genie, Abbott’s multi-channel knowledge centre, to stay on top of important scientific developments in medicine. Knowledge Genie provides doctors access to news about the latest treatments and techniques from more than 3,000 medical journals and 2,000 e-books, as well as daily updates on research and clinical developments.
Question: What should be in the DNA of a growing team of Abbott India Limited? How will clients benefit from your expertise?
Answer: I am privileged to be leading a high performing team, committed to strengthening the legacy of Abbott and enhancing our promise to help millions of people live a healthier, happier and a more fulfilling life. We value the diversity in our team, because as part of our DNA, we believe that different perspectives combined with shared goals inspire new ideas and better ways of addressing changing health needs.
We focus on exceptional performance – a hallmark of Abbott people worldwide – demanding of ourselves and each other because our work impacts people’s lives. We strive to earn the trust of those we serve by committing to the highest standards of quality, excellence in personal relationships, and behaviour characterized by honesty, fairness and integrity.
We sustain success—for our business and the people we serve—by staying true to key tenets upon which our company was founded over a century ago: innovative care and a desire to make a meaningful difference in all that we do.
Question: What would you attribute your success to and what are your greatest accomplishments?
Answer: I attribute my success to the people around me. I share my successes and challenges with my team. I lean on these people for support and encouragement.
And similarly, my achievement also lies in when I see the people around me become successful. The people I have worked with in my career – to groom them and then to see them grow and go places – it is an exhilarating feeling and is a great accomplishment for me!
I am also a strong advocate for reverse mentoring. I believe that core competencies required for great leadership do not necessarily come only with experience. The values of kindness, empathy, integrity, respect and courage are something that can be imprinted on all employees. While vertical hierarchy is strongly in place in India, gradually companies should and are formalizing the reverse mentoring process in order to ensure best practices in today’s digital world.
Younger employees come with different learnings and belief systems, and their presence definitely adds pace and compassion to the workforce. They have smart ideas to reach rural stakeholders through IoT (Internet of things) & emerging technologies, and interesting ideas to solve complex problems like disease prevalence- using big-data.
Question: Which innovations by you were highly acclaimed and accepted by the Industry?
Answer: We have given a major boost to the service + pills initiative in the industry. Our Lifestyle modification program for preventing conditions such as NAFLD (Non-Alcohol related Fatty Liver Disease) is one of the firsts in the industry where we are reaching out to patients and doctors through technology.
As the industry is shifting from treatment to prevention, such programs will ensure continued benefit to patients and their needs. Applying these incremental innovations to existing off-patent medicine provides added value to our patients. Whilst this approach is common in other industries such as consumer goods, this insight-driven approach is less common in pharma.
Question: How do you build a successful customer base and achieve a long term relation with them? What are the key elements followed by you for a successful business?
Answer: Abbott is one of the top healthcare companies in India. For us, leadership is multi-faceted and goes much beyond commercial leadership. We believe that if we can create multiple patient-centric healthcare eco-systems in India – that’s true leadership, because only then can we truly help people get healthy.
Abbott is in fact the only multinational company whose pharmaceutical business is 100 percent focused on emerging markets. We have built our business to be driven locally, yet powered globally. We believe in insight-driven innovation that differentiates our medicines.
Importantly, Abbott is seen as a trusted brand in the eyes of the doctors and patients – and that is due to our demonstration of quality and commitment over a period of time. I believe gaining trust takes time – but it only comes with consistent, credible and sustainable results.
Question: What is the best part of Abbott India Limited, and how are you going to utilize it in future projects?
Answer: As I mentioned before, though we are an MNC, we are driven locally. We have the spirit of entrepreneurship in our people. No idea is considered small. Such kind of incubation and pro-innovation attitude ensures that everyone is appreciated and pushed to do better in their own way.
We have a Think Tank set up in the organization that allows any employee to pitch ideas to the teams – these programs boost growth and enthusiasm, and ensure cross-functional collaboration. We have several projects that have been started as a part of Think Tank and going forward we intend to continue the push.

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