While opinion is divided on the way Cipla is marketing its new emergency contraceptive, the I-pill, the stock market seems to have taken note of the new turn the company has taken.
Gynaecologists feel the pill should not be relied on as the first line of defense to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies. The i-pill is intended to be a single-used emergency contraception for women.
Whatever the effect on the women who take the pill, it has had a positively perky effect on the company's share price.
Cipla's share price has gone up 14.4 per cent since August 31. i-pill was launched in August, and the media campaign started in September.
"This is the first time in a long time that Cipla is doing something concrete in terms of their new businesses," says an analyst who helps manage close to Rs 10,000 crore in assets in one of India's top mutual funds.
Cipla, India's largest pharmaceutical company by sales has started aggressively marketing the drug. It has set up a helpline to answer queries, a website
and is talking to doctors. It has also started a series of TV ads that have generated a buzz.
The i-pill, as it is being sold, is essentially a product that was already available in the market. Shirin Parikh, a 19-year old college student, recalls the name of the Cipla drug readily. She says she knows what the drug does, but is not sure whether she would be using it.
The name of the drug definitely creates brand recall; least of all because it shares it first two letters with the gadget every teenager and college-goer dreams of, the i-pod.
The company though says that the 'i' in i-pill is a reference to the first person. "It makes the name much more personal. Earlier, the most common pill available was called pill 72, which was more cryptic," says Jaideep A Gogte, head, medical services, Cipla.
Gynaecologists feel the ad-campaign is over the top. They say it might encourage pople to self-medicate. The ad fails to convey the fact that knowing about your condition is the key.