Organon, the pharmaceutical wing of Dutch conglomerate Akzo Nobel, announced plans to set up a hi-tech, multi-crore plant in the city to manufacture a range of contraceptive products.
Organon has identified Calcutta “as the only option” in India, apart from its eight other centres around the globe, because of the “changing attitude towards industry in the state”, said Organon officials.
“We have received overwhelming support in our quest to set up a plant here. Calcutta as of now appears to us as… the only option for setting up a plant in India. We are waiting for the decision from Akzo Nobel on this issue,” said Paul Rohof, chairman and managing director, Organon (India) Ltd.
The company, which specialises in contraception, fertility management and menopausal care, is awaiting the final nod from its parent company, Akzo Nobel, before it begins work on the project. It has acquired land at Kona, in Howrah, for the planned multi-crore plant, which will cater to the east Indian market.
Rohof added that the initiative for marketing the contraceptives in India is a result of the government’s aim of popularising such drugs. “We have a team of officials working with the government, who has displayed interest in contraceptives, specially because of the extremely poor awareness levels in the country,” added Rohof.
Health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra said the government is keen on providing logistical support to the company if it goes ahead with the plans.
According to recent surveys, over 52 per cent of the Indian population does not use any contraceptives, while only two per cent uses contraceptive pills. “To further the national population policy, we need to promote the use of contraceptive pills as a safe means of family planning,” said minister of state for health Pratyush Mukherjee.
To raise awareness levels, Organon, which launched a new contraceptive pill two months ago, will organise programmes involving gynaecologists, sexologists and healthcare planners.
“The modern pills available are very safe and have minimal side-effects. They are much safer than condoms,” opines Suresh Menon, vice-president (medical services), Organon.