Samprada Singh is one of the heavyweight industrialists of India who laid the foundation for Alkem Laboratories, a multinational pharmaceutical company. Many of us might know about this but their extraordinary success got them the Express Pharma Excellence Award which is equivalent to Oscars in the pharma world.
Born in a farmer family of Okri, a small village in Jehanabad district of Bihar, Samprada Singh wanted to be a doctor. Despite the financial crunch at home his father sent him to Patna for preparation for the entrance test. He did his best but it wasn’t good enough to qualify the exams. After his failure he understood that his family can’t spend more on his attempts and he must now look for opportunities to earn money and contribute to his home.
He started a small drug store in Patna in 1953 with a few thousand bucks. On the basis of his hard work and friendly nature he increased his earning by manifolds in the next few years. With the intention of expanding his business he started a pharmaceuticals distribution firm in 1960 named Magadha Pharma. Soon he became a distributor for several multinational pharmaceutical companies.
This is a man who always believed in setting high goals. So when Samprada Singh saw the distribution firm running successfully from zero, he thought he can do the same if he launched his own pharma brand in the market. With this thought he set out for Mumbai to become a pharmaceutical manufacturer.
In 1973, he opened his first pharmaceutical company by the name of Alkem Laboratories in Mumbai. He had to face immense struggle for the first five years and they did not have enough money to run the unit. The turning point came only in 1989 when Alkem Labs successfully manufactured and marketed Taxim, a generic version of the antibiotic cefotaxime. In fact, the inventor company of the drug had taken Alkem lightly considering it to be a minor competitor to them. This was the biggest mistake on part of this French multinational which made way for cheap Taxim to capture big portion of the market. This established Alkem in the pharma industry and gave it a new identity.
Today, Alkem Laboratories produces pharmaceuticals as well as nutraceuticals. It has now expanded its its business in 30 countries and Samprada Singh was ranked 52nd by Forbes India in the list of richest Indians. He is the first industrialist from Bihar who has amassed a private wealth of Rs 19,000 crore!
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