Friday, September 6, 2013

'The Pedagogue', 'The Pragmatist' & 'The Predator'

Fact of field life!

Here is a fact of field life recounted by a friend. Quite a few of the FH snippets published in this blog may be characterised as facts of field life

This is the story of three types of Medical Representatives: the Pedagoguethe Pragmatist and the Predator

The story narrated here dates back to the days of yore when the (American and European) MNCs had an aura and doctors used to be quite receptive to their Medical Representatives. 

The Pedagogue representing a German MNC met a doctor and extensively detailed his brand, a neurotropic vitamin injection. 

The Pragmatist also from a German MNC followed suit and said something like this to the doctor: ‘You have just heard about a neurotropic vitamin brand detailed by my colleague. Therefore there is no need for me to detail a similar product in extenso. We are aslo a German MNC and produce the same quality as the other. Additionally our brand costs 30% less. Please ‘extend your support’ for my brand. 

The Predator went to the nearby retailer, offered an extra 30% profit (there is no need to explain how it is done!) and requested him to ‘substitute’ his brand! 

Courtesy: C. V. Sharilov

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

“Yesterday I clapped. You passed away!”


In the 1960s only the very rich were able to own cars. To use the fiery socialist rhetoric of the times only the filthy rich could afford to drive in chauffeur-driven cars. It was in such a milieu, a Glaxo-Indian Medical Representative had a chauffeur-driven car. He was able to afford it not because he was filthily rich but because he was able to efficiently manage his finances. Although driving in a chauffeur-driven car gave him a certain social aura, it had its downside as well, as we shall see in a moment.

The medical profession was far more ethical then than it is now and it was a rare physician who asked a Medical Representative for an additional unit of a physician’s sample. Medical Representatives were welcomed more for the information about advances in medicine that they would impart than anything else.

Glaxo-Indian Medical Representatives were almost revered by the retail chemists as they would get them supplies of scarce medicines and baby foods. (The Family Products Division which was later sold to Heinz was not created yet.)

The Glaxo-Indian Medical Representative who had a chauffeur-driven car had to contend with a problem though. Doctors who were scrupulously honest and baulked at asking for an extra strip of physicians’ samples often sought to borrow his car, along with the driver of course. Being a soft and gentle person he could not often say ‘no’ in spite of a lot personal inconvenience, but as the demands were getting too many, he could not cope. He was unable to refuse their requests as doing so was marring professional relationships. In the end he decided to dispense with the driver and sell away the car.

But before he did, he had an interesting anecdote to tell. As mentioned earlier, our Glaxo-Indian Medical Representative was some kind of a celebrity in the town not just because – well, he was a Glaxo-Indian Medical Representative – but also because he used to drive in a chauffeur-driven car.

One day as he was passing in his car, a retail chemist hailed him. As is usual he both shouted his name and clapped to attract attention. However, the occupants of the speeding car could not hear the shouts and did not stop.

The next day the Glaxo-Indian Medical Representative had to visit the same chemist. The chemist, who was fond of exhibiting his limited knowledge of English, stunned him with this declaration: Yesterday I clapped. You passed away!   
N. G. Srinivasan, Senior Regional Business Manager (Enteroplus) Chennai writes:

I vividly remember this. There was a medical shop opposite Rajahmundry Railway Station. The owner was a good friend of my father. One day he visited our house. He was upset with my father because he did not stop to talk to him near his shop. He told my Dad:  “Yesterday I clapped like this (he demonstrated the clapping). In the meanwhile you passed away!”

Dad used to recall many such hilarious bloopers. His AWDs used to place orders for “Betnovate Slap Applications!”   
The Glaxo-Indian Medical Representative mentioned in the anecdote was Mr. N. G. Krishna, Srinivasan’s father. 

And yes, for many retailers and some doctors Glaxo was Glasco!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

N.G. Krishna

We regret to have to inform that Mr. N. G. Krishna who worked as Medical Representative
N G Krishna
21.12.1928 - 29.05.2013
at Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh breathed his last on May 29, 2013 at Chennai. NGK, as he was fondly called
, joined the company on September 1, 1956 in what was then known as Glaxo Laboratories India Ltd. and retired on December 20, 1988 after serving the company for 32 long years.

Always attached to Glaxo, he encouraged his son N. G. Srinivasan to join the company as a Medical Representative and was proud to see him rise through the ranks. Srinivasan is a Senior Regional Business Manager in GSK now. 

Known for his stern self-discipline and meticulous planning, NGK lived an organized life. He is survived by his wife, son and two daughters. NGK was a ‘very simple person, always smiling and always willing to help others’, reminisces K. Gopal former General Manager, Training & Development.

May God bless his soul with eternal peace!

Friday, February 8, 2013

A fond farewell to Mr. C.P.Appa Rao, Dy. B.S.M.

Glaxo Pharma AP Teams Bidding Adieu to Mr. C.P. Appa Rao, Deputy Branch Sales Manager on his retirement
Seen from L to R - Bottom Row: P. Narasimham, V. Ch. Soma Raju, R. N. Raghavan, K. Prabhakar
Sitting: C. Jagadisan, Dy. B. S. M., Mrs. C.P.Appa Rao, Mr. C.P. Appa Rao, D.R. Nathan, B.S.M., V. C. Mahendra
Standing: Row 1: D. Rama Mohana Rao, K. Ramgopal, S. Ramani, K.N.Chandrasekharan, V. Rajamani (A.S.E.), K. V. Radhakrishna, K. Venkateswarlu, K. Nageswara Rao, N. G.Krishna, V. Ramprasad, U. Narayanadas
Standing: Last Row: M.P.Prabhakara Rao, R. Sequiera, A. Parthasarathi (A.S.E.), V. Satyanarayana, N. Muralidhara Reddy (A.S.E.), K. Bapiraju (A.S.E.), Ch. Seetharamaiah (A.S.E.), M. Narasimham, B.K.Rao, V. Subramanyam, K. Aravamudu, Dr. R. Suresh
Photo Contributed by K. Aravamudu
Can someone date this picture? Mr. Appa Rao retired circa 1980.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Glaxo Pharma Annual Conference Of 1970 @ Ooty

A file photo of Glaxo Pharma Annual Conference of 1970 @ Ooty.
Photo Contributed by K. Aravamudu
How many of the participants in the photo can you recognise? 
Your replies will be thankfully acknowledged.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

All your mails

Replies received:

Hey this idea was also shared by me, we did start  few ideas to meet and meet somewhere at a convenient place and may be meet for a day or two and have great time, with only pure fun, no bragging, but it fizzled out, but it brought few lost contacts back, but somehow now we must work out something. I am willing to take the charge, your ideas and suggestions are welcome.

I am forwarding this mail to many GLXOINDIANs who are not in this list, Cheer up we all will meet, act fast let not the age be seen. - Girish Patel

Sure seems a great idea! - Jairam S. Narayan

Wow! Just going through the names brings back faded memories. Good idea to try & meet up once in a while & hope it materializes. Cheers! - Aman Khanna

P.S.: Dear All, Kindly replace my email address with, Regards. Aman Khanna

Hi Folks, It is indeed a splendid idea of we all meeting together for a re-union. I fully support your idea. Let us all put our heads together, we will start may be initially with a few members but I am confident that later on we will have a large crowd. So friends think aloud, and come up with your thoughts. CHEERS - Surendra R. Shetty

This is certainly a good idea to meet. Pl mark all mails addressed to me to another e-mail ID: We will keep in touch. Regards. – R. Jagannath

A great idea! With age & time a no of people would have moved forward in life.  Let’s plan something as we go along. Look forward to hear from all. Let's stay connected! – Deepak Chhabra

Hi to everyone who know me and to those who not me, let us know each other. - Uday Dastane


GLAXOINDIAN’s message:

Dear Friends,

As you all know we have started GLAXOINDIAN as a platform for meeting colleagues, present and past, reminisce about good times and bad, and generally stay in touch with each other.

The initial enthusiasm, with which it was mooted by a few people and started, petered out and, may we say it has been languishing for months (in fact, years) for want of content. We have had 21 posts in 2010, 3 in 2011 and 1 in 2012. 

As we look forward there are a few options:

1. Forget about the whole thing and let it remain in limbo forever - or even kill it. 

2. Contribute shared experiences, lessons, photos, successes and news. We are sure each one of you has at least a few memorable experiences, personal successes, or funny incidents which you would like to share with your colleagues. 

However, a word of caution: please try to avoid sending stories like "How I converted Dr. Padmavathi to Becadexamin" unless there is an 'out of the ordinary' angle to it. 

3. Hand it over to a new set of editors. If anyone or more of you is/are willing to take it over and run it as a common platform, you are welcome to do so. 

Finally this is being mailed to those colleagues whose e-mail addresses are available with us. May we request you to pass on the message to others? Please send us the e-mail addresses of others whom you know - those you do not find in the 'To field' above. 

Looking forward to hearing from you...


Thursday, February 9, 2012

A modern management seminar!

You'll find here all there is to learn from modern management wisdom. Follow its simple steps to ascend the management ladder. Not since Parkinson has management wisdom been imparted in such succinct and easy to follow form. It is not the usual how to succeed’ stuff which requires you to be “a little more intelligent, a little more hardworking, a little more painstaking” to succeed. As Parkinson said, if you were all that you would not require a guide to succeed. So here’s to success and ascendance to the top!
As always, Subbu barged in crying ‘Guruji, I need your help! I have to make a presentation at our annual sales conference next week. The boss wants me to make a presentation about how I plan to double my sales in the coming year. Top management will be there and if I goof up, it will be outer darkness for me.’ ‘No problem’, I said. ‘I have just returned from a management seminar myself and acquired all the wisdom there was in it………  

In the post lunch session, a Senior Vice President has been droning on for over half an hour. Half the participants were dozing from the exhaustion of overnight travel and the effects of a sumptuous lunch. He was saying, “we live in a 24/7 world.” Yeah, at least I do. In fact 24 hours in a day are not enough for me even to browse through the torrent of communications I receive. I receive mails from my boss, his boss and the head office. EDP (electronic data processing department for the uninitiated) sends me enough paper to drown in. Lest I forgot its existence, ‘HR’ sends me communications. In the olden days it was ‘Personnel’; now ‘Human resources’ has a nice ring to it. The only thing I could make out of ‘HR’ was it regularly denies me the type of increments I feel I deserve. I receive circulars from ‘Logistics’ (in the days of yore it was called ‘Distribution’). I also receive communications from ‘Corporate Communications’. In the olden days the function of CC was mainly to produce the monthly in-house magazine and occasionally liaise with the press if there was a need. There were no pink papers and businesses did not make it often to the media. Now CC has a larger role. It is to see big-boss’ mug-shot appears in the newspapers at least once a month and he makes it to the television at least once in a quarter for his fifteen seconds of fame. The rest of the time CC throws its weight around and takes it out on minions like us.

…“We must leverage our core competences for greater customer focus.” A colleague who was sitting next to me whispered, ‘oh yeah, his core competence is in placating the boss and flattering his wife. Leverage, certainly he does. Last weekend he was out playing golf with him. His wife was quite unhappy; nowadays he spends his Sunday mornings at his boss’ residence you know.’ The last part jerked me out of my reverie. So my colleague was a regular visitor at our boss’ residence. How remiss of me? Haven’t I lost my customer focus?

…“in order to take on competition, we will have to look for synergy within, benchmark our efforts with the best practices in the industry and think out of the box. Let us ask ourselves if we are able to achieve a strategic fit; if not we should revisit our game plan. I call upon you ladies and gentlemen, let us become more proactive.” Yes, be at the boss’ side throughout the seminar and bring him coffee and cookies during breaks. Carry a pack of his brand of cigarettes. It comes in handy when he runs out of his pack, which to be sure he often does.

…“let us empower our team members” (for some inexplicable reason, in modern management parlance, the word ‘subordinate’ is taboo; so ‘team members’ it is.) “We need to change our mindsets and expeditiously look for a paradigm shift; let us think win-win.” Yeah, for sure! We do all the donkey’s work and you promote your favourite acolyte. He wins and you win because you get promoted!

…“As you all know the competition is breathing down on our necks. If we are serious about outpacing it, we will have to fast-track in enhancing our knowledge base. Let us come out of the loop and provide value-added service to our customers, for it is a result-driven world.”

...“don’t forget, the truth is at the end of the day, it is the bottom line that counts.” Yes Sir, we are looking forward to the end of the day. The bottom line is, that at the end of the day there would be dinner and drinks. Bosses would be around, so the party would begin on a cautious note but after a couple of rounds the lions within would come out.

… “Good Luck folks, God go with you, till we touch base again!”

The seminar made me wiser. I knew I have picked up the essence of management ‘Gita’. I gave Subbu a list of twenty five words. I suggested that he sprinkle these words throughout his presentation and presto, he would be a hit with his bosses. Here they are, in alphabetical order: at the end of the day - benchmark - best practice - bottom line - client focus - core competencies - empowerment - expeditious - fast track - game plan - knowledge base  leverage - mindset - out of the loop - paradigm - proactive - result-driven - revisit - the truth is - think outside the box - touch base - strategic fit - synergy - value-added - win-win.” I told him, ‘don’t forget the most important of them all is “24/7”.’