17 April, 2021

Dilip Shanghvi, Sun Pharma

It was a self-devised ­management style and strategic acquisitions that helped Shanghvi get to the top of the pharma business.

Photograph by Soumik Kar
Dilip Shanghvi, Sun Pharma
  • Rs 99,000 crore is his total net worth


First things first. In 2015, he became the richest man in India, overtaking Mukesh Ambani—in case you hadn’t heard the news. And yes, Dilip Shanghvi too presents us with another Indian variation of the American garage trope, having begun with Rs 10,000 borrowed from an uncle to set up a small pharmaceutical business of his own. From there, it was a self-devised management style and strategic acquisitions that helped Shanghvi slice through the crowded market.

Pharma is a maze of business-ethics issues, with evolving patent laws managing the conflicting pulls of R&D/profitability and consumer needs. Pharma majors were looking at drugs that spelt big bucks; Shanghvi inverted the logic, and started manufacturing niche generics for chronic psychiatric, heart and gastric diseases. There were speed-bumps in the short run but, by 2015, Sun Pharma was the highest profit-maker. By 2015, Sun had acquired 17 firms, including Ranbaxy and the...

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