Air filtration is a key to keep pharma business running effectively and successfully

Ashok Pandey, Director, Automotive, Pharma and Consumer Filtration, Freudenberg Filtration Technologies India in an interaction with Kalyani Sharma explains about his company’s future plans for Indian market and highlights the major market trends in Indian pharma manufacturing sector

What are your plans for the Indian market? Are there any new products in the pipeline for the pharma sector?

Currently, we are engaged in manufacturing traditional products for certain segments. Now, time has come to use technologically advanced product, which has global approvals, and is energy-efficient. Since filtration standard has undergone major upgradation in 2018, majority of the pharma companies are in the process of upgradation meeting with new norms. Since Freudenberg has over 120 Patented Filtration Non Air filtration is a key to keep pharma business running effectively and successfully Woven media, initial efforts will be taken to provide superior filtration solutions.

Since we have to cater technologically-advanced market, current focus shifted to manufacture and supply filters complying with ISO 16890 (newly adopted filtration standard). Further, we are also planning to install EN 1822 certified test rig in India.

Recently, we have launched two new products under pharma. Safe change housing/bag in bag out unit, along with 350 degree celsius withstanding capacity filters which are used for critical applications. Now, we will soon be coming up with fan filter units, which is under development.

Which all markets do you intend to cater to in the future?

Currently, we are into automotive paint shops, gas turbine, pharma, surface technology, cabin air filters for automobile, food and beverages. Now, focus is on hospital segment and gas phase for critical applications. Apart from new segment focus, we see opportunity to enhance the current filtration levels by using advance in-house developed media.

How different is it to do business in Indian pharma market versus other markets? Do you think pharma industry in India can incorporate some learnings from global markets?

Air filtration is a key to keep pharma business running effectively and successfully. One small mistake could risk the contamination of products, employees or close environment general public.

We feel fortunate when it comes to pharma business since norms in pharma are very stringent to comply with regulatory audits. Having audit background and all the functional norms which keeps on upgrading continuously, pharma companies select filter manufacturer or any other vendor who can help them comply with norms directly or indirectly. It provides continuous learning and improvement opportunity along with providing superior products.

How do you see the manufacturing side of the Indian pharma industry shaping up? What is the pharma manufacturing market outlook in India for the next five years? What makes it a lucrative market?

Current pharma trend has shifted to contract manufacturing. Since India has lower R&D and manufacturing cost and 100 per cent FDA is permitted, new plant set up is in process. It will lead to increase in pharma raw material and finished products export. By 2025, predicted market size would be approximately $90 billion against $58 billion in 2020. India eyeing to achieve leadership position will help overall business grow and also associated industries.

Can you highlight the major market trends in Indian pharma manufacturing sector?

The Indian government unveiled “Pharma Vision 2020” aimed at making India a global leader in end-to end drug manufacturer. It has reduced approval time for new facilities to boost investments and under pharma sector, 100 per cent FDI is allowed under automatic route. With these advantages and due to lower cost of treatment, India is emerging as a leading destination for medical tourism. All these will help the industry to flourish and also many small-scale industries will benefit due to this.

What have been your key learnings as an organisation serving the pharma sector in India? Any change that you wish to bring in pharma manufacturing sector in India?

Pharma audits are very stringent and the industry is preferring vendors/partners who are aware of criticality. The vendors for critical products are finalised after auditing their manufacturing set up. This is good for players who have long-term vision and believe in supplying quality products.

Currently, pre and fine filters, not being critical, are sourced with domestic media. To enhance the life of final or HEPA filters, awareness has to be created to use pre and fine filter media with progressive density nomenclature which will help to retain maximum dust, have good long-term efficiency levels and reduce power consumption.

In terms of policy decisions, currently, most of the high-grade media are imported. Hence, government should focus on bringing players who can manufacture quality media locally, and also can consider duty reductions on medical components as it is related to health and safety.

Ashok PandeyFreudenberg Filtration Technologiesphar
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