As a part of the Express Pharma’s January 2023 cover story, Pratima Reddy, Managing Director, Merck Specialities, shares her views below.
The pharma industry has undergone tremendous change due to the pandemic in the past few years. In 2023, the pharma sector will focus on sustainability, mainly on sustainable packaging of the products while balancing consumer safety as the eco-friendly option, equity in health and accessibility for patients.
The world is moving towards a greener tomorrow with the concept of sustainability, where the need of the hour is met, but without compromising the needs of the generations to come, ensuring that there is always a balance between the advancement of technology and the well-being of the environment. At the forefront of the pharma sector, work on sustainable packaging is in the works as the packaging creates the first impression of the brand and its transparency towards its claims of sustainability and aesthetic appeal. Still, the pharma industry is moving at a relatively slower pace than the other packaged goods sector due to consumer safety of the products standing at the forefront of the issue. The level of exposure to different environmental factors, temperature, oxygen, sunlight etc., plays a significant part in protecting the patient by ensuring that the product is being consumed safely.
Recently, there have been developments in the area, which give us hope that we will soon be able to shift to a biodegradable form of packaging completely. This will be done without hindering the safety standards of the products by optimising the dimensions and recyclability of our packaging while keeping our products fit for consumption. At Merck, we aim to reduce any adverse impacts our medicines may have on the environment during their development, manufacture, transportation, use and disposal.
Accessibility to healthcare for patients has always been at the forefront of the company, but, at the same time, we are striving towards equity in health. This not only helps the patients enormously, but, at the same time, equity will ensure that every pharma company will have a level ground to establish itself in the market. In addition, the sector holds the capacity to identify needs according to age, geography and treatable and untreatable health conditions to identify their target markets across the globe.
Identifying such factors has equipped pharma companies to invest more effectively in their areas of expertise as it varies from region to region drastically. In economies like India, where there is a vast potential to expand the market, the value proposition from approaching equity in health becomes beneficial while inducing much-needed trust among the citizens.
Accessibility of patients in healthcare is the ultimate aim of every pharma company as patients are the centre of everything that we do for patients to trust us and our research to cure the unique problems of the healthcare community.
Within the pharma industry, accessibility to patients has always been defined as a service that the sector can provide to patients in need, a provider of medication, an institution to approach in distress and the appropriate services that can address the needs of the patients. The sources of healthcare are to be distributed across the areas with the resources to resolve the healthcare issues. Merck has initiated the National Payers Partnership programme on cancer care, an avant-garde programme in the oncology segment with a focus on capability building by creating partnerships with National payers such as Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), under the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Ministry of Railways to develop pathways for access. These strategic partnerships with multiple state governments to include our medicines under the access initiatives have helped us reach out to the remote areas of the country with the quality drugs that patients around the nation need.
These factors and the choice of each company in the pharma industry will have a lasting impact on the patients we serve across the world. Especially, post the COVID pandemic, the industry has introduced new focus areas.
To read more stories in the January 2023 edition, read our digital issue at: https://www.expresspharma.in/express-pharma-january-2023/