This ‘Guest Blog’ Post has been contributed by Mr. Hasan Jamal, a longtime veteran of Pharma Industry. The Guest Blog Posts are also published on https://pharmaveterans.com . You are welcome to contribute. You may write your own story or about some memorable events of your career or about Pharma Industry. Please send your posts to firstname.lastname@example.org .
During my career with Hoechst, I got the opportunity to meet and interact with some wonderful people and had the privilege to learn something from each one of them. There is a long list of such sublime personalities, but I have to stay within the ambit of Pharma veterans’ platform, therefore, to mention all of them would not be possible. I would, certainly, devote a separate blog to discuss few, who have left a deep impression on me.
Coming back to the subject, I would like to walk you through different stages of my career. In 1980 I ventured to try out career in advertising, and worked for nearly two years with a renowned company at Karachi.
One day, after attending a meeting with a client at Hotel Regent Plaza on Shahra- e- Faisal, I was walking on the road to look for some transport to reach office at I. I. Chundrigar Road. I was about a KM away from Hotel Metropole when suddenly a car pulled up near me and stopped few yards ahead. Karachi was peaceful in those days, therefore, without fear of any mishap, I got close to the car and found Mr. Manzar at the driving seat asking me to get in. I was dropped at some convenient place to get the transport.
During five minutes that we drove together, he asked me to rejoin Hoechst. I was not enjoying advertising job much. I reached PNSC building the next day and joined Hoechst again in March 1982. I was placed in Karachi team with Shakeel Ahmed as supervisor, an old pal. I was given the territory of JPMC, NICVD and some GPs of Saddar.
In August the same year, when I reached Karachi Sales Depot (KSD) a message from SKM was there for me to reach head office. As I wadded in the Head Office, everyone sitting in the hall, at the entrance, was looking at me with pity as if I was going to the gallows. SKM asked me to join him as his assistant immediately. SKM was a terror in the company. I was very quietly advised by few well-wishers not to take up this job as it will become a dungeon for me. I, after some hiccups, joined SKM and with a brief orientation from SKM I started my new assignment designated as Sales Coordination Officer.
I accepted the challenge and here I was exposed to multiple assignments. In addition to the duties as an assistant, I was put as one of the trainers for the new batches of representatives and the field officer for Sukkur. I trained, motivated and worked closely with the Sukkur team and soon achieved the objectives set by the company. SKM was happy with me for carrying out all functions successfully.
SKM left the company in 1984, and I was placed under Eric Heidkamp (EH), the Pharma Manager. Under him I continued in the same capacity with additional task to initiate and supervise the trial on Claforan 250mg at the department of pediatrics, JPMC.
This was the period when re-launch of Claforan and Haemaccel was being planned. I had been involved in the activities pertaining to the planning and training all along. Haemaccel was handled by Dr. Pervaiz Hamdani. He was a brilliant person, an infallible and dominating personality and an orator of class. In fact the credit of success of Claforan largely goes to EH and for Haemaccel to Dr. Pevaiz Hamdani. Needless to mention that the wonders done by the product managers and ultimately the field force to carve a sizable share in the market for these products cannot be under estimated. They performed the feat which has few parallel in pharma market.
End 1984, I was transferred to Rawalpindi for a daunting task to head the promotion team, which was replete with lot of problems, the company was up to its neck and had already made many failed attempts to rectify the situation. I was asked to fire the whole team and hire a new one, which I most respectfully disagreed to, before I had the first-hand experience of working with them and knowing the problem.
Here I met excellent people like Sh. Shahid, Shakeel Jillani, Alvi and Tariq. I reported to S. H.J aved (SHJ), the branch manager. He was a very cooperative person and a thorough gentleman. I was introduced to distribution colleagues with Wahab Mehdi as distribution officer. WM was an enlightened man and a good friend. We both were living a bachelor’s life at Rawalpidi with our families still living in Karachi. We both were greatly drawn for chappal kababs and frequently had lunch together to devour kababs. He had a brief stint at Rawalpindi. He was replaced by Riaz Ahmed (now late – I pray for eternal peace to his soul).
I first studied and analyzed the problem, before I could take any remedial measures. It was a difficult and obstinate team. I formulated my own strategy and ultimately things were corrected and Rawalpindi became one of the most productive headquarters. I completed the assignment successfully in 10 months instead of a year. By that time Tariq Umer (TU) had joined as NSM. End 1985, EH & TU came on a visit. I was appreciated and lauded by both and was asked to relocate to Lahore as RSM North Region, the area extended from Peshawar to Sadiqabad, (a town bordering with Punjab and Sindh). I handed over the team to Sh. Shahid and shifted to Lahore end 1985.
By this time TU had fully taken charge of the sales department. He was very talented and a highly qualified person. TU was a consummated workaholic. He introduced many new ideas specially the idea of Scientific Product Presentation. This novel idea met with huge success and became a byword in the market. I was one of the members of this selective group of presenters. Other members of this group were Shakeel Ahmed (SA), Asrar Qureshi (AQ), and Sultan Khan (SK). All had good product and market knowledge and were excellent communicators. AQ and SK, by virtue of having better knowledge and communication skills, had additional task of correcting communication lapses and validation of the presenters.
My note will not be complete without mentioning Dr. Asad Sadick, Director Medical Affairs. He was a Gastroenterologist by qualification and inducted in the company directly by Hoechst AG from Germany. He made invaluable contributions and brought lots of technical knowledge to the company. Dr.AS was a very friendly open sort of a person and we all felt relaxed with him.
Iqbal Ahmed became NSM when TU took charge as Pharma Head. IA was a man with exceptional talent. A very sharp and shrewd person and had immaculate sense of sales planning. He was a born salesman and a perfect sales manager. After leaving Hoechst, IA made his fortune as the owner of a high-performing pharmaceutical company, High-Q.
Due to the combined impact of what I have discussed above, the company culminated into not only a commercially fast growing giant, above the market growth, but gained the reputation of knowledge- based company. The environment thus fostered was so compelling, where, to survive, one had to achieve a reasonable level of intellect. Mediocrity had no place. Many worked hard to achieve that while few were gifted.
In my next post I would discuss my friends and associates I worked with during my stay at H.O and as RSM North Region, which later became Central Region.