Fortifying Brand India Pharma

Lessons and insights on measures and approaches to drive innovation, quality and growth in India's pharma sector from industry leaders and policy makers at Vizag Pharma Summit 2023

India’s pharma market is rapidly gaining momentum and witnessing significant growth globally. However, in this promising landscape, it is imperative for the industry to embrace a paradigm shift from a conventional, volume-based business strategy to a value-driven approach.

Therefore, the overarching theme for this year’s Pharma Summits organised by Express Pharma is “Volume to Value Leadership: Opportunities and Challenges for India Pharma Inc.” After the resounding success of Ahmedabad Pharma Summit 2023, Express Pharma recently hosted the fourth edition of Vizag Pharma Summit on May 19, 2023 at the Hotel Taj Gateway in Vishakhapatnam. The event served as a catalyst, offering an environment that is conducive for participants to share their experiences, exchange knowledge, and forge partnerships to drive fuel growth in the pharma sector. Key stakeholders, industry leaders, policymakers and innovators came together to drive discussions that will shape the trajectory of India Pharma Inc.

This article is a compilation of the valuable perspectives and insights imparted by the esteemed speakers during the Vizag Pharma Summit 2023.

We need collaborative strategies that will fuel innovation and value-led growth

The keynote speaker, K Raja Bhanu, Deputy Director & Joint Director (FAC), Drugs Control Administration, Visakhapatnam Region of Andhra Pradesh shared his insights for the progress of the pharma industry from a regulatory perspective.

His address was filled with a lot of food for thought for the pharma industry. His session comprised an summary of India Pharma Inc’s growth trajectory and several milestones achieved by the “Pharmacy of the World”. He urged the industry to now scale new heights and become a value-driven leader in the global pharma market. Raja Bhanu also gave an overview on why Vizag is key to the Indian pharma industry.

He went on to say that now India’s pharma sector needs to be more self-dependent and resilient for value-led growth. Bhanu said that now India needs to be able to anticipate future needs and work with all stake holders to create and implement strategies which will foster innovation and promote research in high value products such as antibiotics, biosimilars, oncology medicines etc.

Bhanu was also emphatic on the importance of meaningful partnerships and collaborations to grow and thrive in an era of disruptions. He also advocated the need to embrace positive change, cultivate a growth mindset, encourage a culture of quality and compliance, and sustaining an environment of trust amongst all stakeholders for future progress.

Prioritise quality to improve performance and boost profitability

Of the many pertinent sessions at Vizag Pharma Summit 2023, one of them was on ‘Elevating pharma performance: Regulatory compliance and quality assurance’ by Ravi Chander Katta, Site Quality Lead (SQOL) – Vizag, Pfizer Global Supply – Global Sterile Injectables.

At the outset of his presentation, Katta outlined the differences between quality assurance and regulatory compliance. He explained that while their objectives can overlap, quality assurance is optional and non-obligatory but regulatory compliance is compulsory and must be followed by any firm manufacturing pharma products. However, he emphasised that prioritising high-quality standards often has a direct impact on performance and profitability of organisations, especially in the life sciences sector.

His session comprised several takeaways on how India Pharma Inc has fared during inspections by regulatory authorities and which aspects need improvement. Speaking on measures to boost the sector’s growth and performance, he pointed out how digitalisation of control processes can be vital to profitability, optimal use of human resources and time, risk mitigation, improving quality of final products etc.

An important inference from this session was that it is pivotal to invest in emerging technologies and leverage them effectively to gain key, real-time insights from data analytics and make better decisions across operations. This will help the industry and businesses to anticipate and resolve problems, improve quality performance and adapt to new realities.

Review and revamp growth strategies to stay relevant and future-ready

An insightful presentation from Dr Bikash Kumar Nayak, Plant Head, Aurobindo Pharma, on ‘Mapping innovation and building a cost leadership strategy’ enlightened the audience about the need to constantly learn and adapt to evolving circumstances and needs to stay ahead in the game. He cited a lot of interesting, real-life cases of successful strategies adopted by renowned brands such as Amazon, Walmart, McDonalds and RyanAir to tackle certain challenges and offer more value than their competitors.

He opined that pharma companies need to study successful brands/organisations from other sectors and examine their marketing and pricing strategies, customer engagement tactics, distribution channels, digital initiatives, messaging and more to look for patterns and best practices that can be adapted and adopted to their operations and activities.

Dr Nayak underscored the importance of researching the competition and understanding their operations, to improve your own process and reduce costs as well. He also stressed on the importance of building a culture of ‘Right First Time’ to prioritise quality.

A key inference from his session was agility and adaptability to changing market dynamics and emerging trends, along with an innovation-driven mindset is key for businesses to position themselves for continued success and maintain a competitive edge.

Building a future-ready workforce is an imperative for progresss

In a brief and succinct session, KV Sreenivasa Babu, VP-Operations, Natco Pharma showcased both, emerging trends and challenges in the pharma industry. Speaking on trends such as automation, digitalisation, continuous manufacturing, advanced data analytics, AI, predictive maintenance, and more, he highlighted how these technologies offer significant advantages in the pharma industry, ranging from increased efficiency and accuracy, improved regulatory compliance and traceability across functions.

He also spoke on the power and potential of these technologies to minimise the risk of human error in various critical processes, like drug discovery and manufacturing, quality control, supply chain and packaging.

Sreenivasa Babu also outlined the current challenges in the industry currently such as gaps in the supply chain, lack of required skill sets, employee retention, data security, resistance to change, regulatory approvals, and lead time from development to commercialisation.

A key message from his session was that the industry needs to overcome its resistance to change and adopt a growth mindset to stay relevant and future-ready.

AI and ML will drive the future of discovery

The valedictory address at Vizag Pharma Summit 2023, addressed another vital topic, ‘Designing strategies for enhancing drug discovery and development processes.’ Dr Girish Dixit, Executive Director, Eisai Pharma gave insights which pointed out how the cost and timeline of developing new drugs have significantly increased, posing challenges to the pharma industry. Moreover, despite substantial investments in research and development, the discovery of successful molecules has proven largely unfruitful.

Some of the challenges faced in the drug discovery process such as length, complexity, uncertainty, data and cost of drug discovery, unknown pathophysiology of disorder, limitations of animal models, heterogeneity of the patient population and lack of validated diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers. He also offered some solutions to the existing challenges which include the utilisation of human genomics, which enables the treatment of diseases based on individual genetic markers, use of technologies like AI, ML and digitalisation to make the drug discovery process faster and more efficacious, leveraging the potential of randomised clinical trials (RCTs) to enhance clinical research and refine many processes including patient identification, selection, trial conduct, and capture of data.

A key takeaway was that innovative approaches and technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, will be crucial to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the drug discovery process, as well as accelerate timelines and reduce costs.

Shaping the future

Thus the fourth edition of Vizag Pharma Summit had great insights and lessons for all the participants. It is to be hoped that the event will serve as catalyst for innovation and collaboration and drive positive change through the collective expertise of the experts and leaders. Transformative projects and initiatives will pave the way to capitalise on the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

Express Pharma’s next ‘Pharma Summit’ will be held in Chandigarh on June 30, 2023 at The Holiday Inn, Panchkula. Stay tuned and join us at these Summits to be a partner in progress and ensure that India Pharma Inc remains at the forefront of innovation, manufacturing excellence, and global leadership in the years to come.

advanced data analyticsAIAurobindo Pharmacontinuous manufacturingcost leadershipDrugs Control AdministrationEisai PharmaIndia Pharma IncMLNatco PharmaPfizerpharma digitalisationpharma innovationpharma manufacturingpharma technologypredictive maintenanceQuality assuranceRegulatory complianceVizag Pharma Summit 2023Volume to Value
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