State-owned Hindustan Latex Ltd (HLL), India's largest manufacturer of contraceptive and healthcare products, is set to diversify and include vaccines its portfolio.
Initially, HLL is planning to start marketing vaccines - Hepatitis-B and typhoid vaccines produced by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd.
"At a later stage we plan to start manufacture of vaccines at our plant in Belgaum (Karnataka), which is currently manufacturing women's pharma products including contraceptives," a company official told IANS.
With communicable diseases accounting for a large share of health problems in India, especially among the poor, HLL plans to use its wide network in India and overseas to make vaccines more accessible to the poorer sections.
In the first such tie-up, HLL will be marketing Bharat Biotech's vaccines - HIVAC-B and TYFEX.
HIVAC-B is a recombinant vaccine for Hepatitis-B that uses the HIMAX technology. This process eliminates ultra centrifugation and the use of toxic metals while increasing the recovery of antigenic protein to levels highest in the world.
Typhoid is the fifth most communicable disease in India. With a significant proportion of the child population in India affected by this disease, the introduction of effective vaccines such as TYFEX assumes great significance.
TYFEX is a highly purified Vi Capsular Polysaccharide new generation typhoid vaccine.
This marketing initiative is part of HLL's comprehensive plan to expand its portfolio in the areas of healthcare and contraceptives - its core areas, to achieve rapid growth and a turnover of Rs.10 billion by 2010.
In December last year, HLL had started the LifeSpring Hospital Chain with Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust to provide cost-effective quality care, particularly in the area of reproductive health for the low-income population.
The first LifeSpring Hospital in Hyderabad has been followed up with similar hospitals in Kanpur and Agra.
The company is planning to set up the LifeSpring chain of hospitals in every major district in the country. This is a unique social franchising initiative to create access to good quality reproductive health services to the poor at affordable prices.