Some difficulties in distribution to stockists but will not face shortages across most locations
As India prepares for an extended lockdown till May 3, companies which had the foresight to read the signs early, seem better prepared for the restrictions.
Boehringer Ingelheim was one of these companies. Sharad Tyagi, MD, Boehringer Ingelheim, India mentions that the company had restricted business travel along with a mandatory work from home for all employees including field force with effect from March 17 2020, well ahead of the government advisories. “In doing so, we want to protect our employees and general communities to mitigate the risk of the virus spreading further,” says Tyagi.
The work from home (WFH) policy has not impacted productivity. Giving details, Tyagi explains, “All our employees including the field staff are well-equipped to work remotely using devices and secure access to internal systems, for effective remote working experience. Our field force is connected with several innovative digital platforms to ensure uninterrupted support to doctors and all our key stakeholders.”
The company is reportedly strictly following the guidance of Central Government, State Governments and international experts, especially the WHO and all employees have been advised to maintain social distancing to combat the spread of the disease.
The company has also ensured that the restrictions have not impacted the availability of their brands to patients, especially as none of the brands are manufactured within the country and need to be imported. “We are giving the highest priority to ensure an uninterrupted supply of medicines to our customers. Boehringer Ingelheim has built adequate stocks for the next three months of normal demand and are working with our global supply chain to keep future supplies coming,” informs Tyagi.
But he does admit there are challenges. “We are cognizant of the challenges in cargo movement as also global raw material availabilities to ensure continued supplies. Due to the local situations in certain areas, we have seen some difficulties in the distribution of supplies to stockists and transportation delays in lockdown areas, despite these being the essential goods. There are difficulties in getting supplies to certain locations due to issues in logistics and transportation.”
Tyagi, however, reiterates that the company is “actively tracking product availability” and is confident that they will not face medicine shortages across most of their locations.