Amsterdam: a gateway to Europe

The total European sales of patent-free medicines is always increasing, so it’s easy to understand Logistics and Finance Head Prashant Savla’s enthusiasm about Sun Pharmaceutical's early move to the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.

Savla explains, "This is a prime base of operations from which to further expand our share in the growing European market. Our physical presence here gives us an inside view into what our European customers want. And having a local point of contact is important to our customers, too."

Unique niche market

Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries is a leading player in an interesting niche market. In today’s world, people are living longer than ever, which means they are not only enjoying a longer old age but also taking more pills for longer.  With the costs of all those medicines threatening to go through the roof, care professionals are showing an increasing preference for prescribing ‘generic’ medicines – medicines that are no longer under patent and that pharmaceutical companies other than the patent holder are therefore free to manufacture.

This development is also indirectly responsible for the growing number of pharmaceutical companies specialising in the manufacture of such patent-free medicines, particularly in India and China. Those are now ready for the next phase and are setting up a worldwide network of branches. Sun Pharma is a good example of a successful internationalisation strategy in action; more than half its revenue is currently generated outside India. After conquering the American market, the company has now turned its attention to Europe.

Eyes on Europe

"We’d had a manufacturing branch in Hungary for some time already but the general consensus was that we also needed an HQ in the EU in order to stand at the wheel of our activities in Europe," says Savla.

"This is a very sensitive business in the sense that your customers want to actually see you. Plus, being here makes it much easier to lay out a distribution network and to really keep in step with the laws and regulations governing medicines in Europe – which can differ from one country to another. You simply can’t do that from outside Europe."


Sun Pharma’s choice for Amsterdam was based on a pre-formulated approach. They prepared a list of basic criteria that the ideal site would have to meet. This included excellent digital and physical accessibility, a good supply of English-speaking employees and a good connections to all 27 EU member states. Equally important was the existence of a large Indian expat community. The sum total of these factors  narrowed the choice down to the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. "Plus, Schiphol is literally around the corner and all the logistics expertise we need to set up the best possible supply chain solutions is on our doorstep."

And of paramount importance to a business so directly affected by legislative and regulatory changes, the Hoofddorp office keeps a constant ear to the ground to find out what EU decision makers are saying about further opening up the European Union medicine market. And with the recent move of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to Amsterdam, Sun Pharma has only become happier with their prime choice of location.

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