Express Pharma

Blueprint for progress

Experts and veterans examine and explore strategies for India Pharma Inc to implement the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic as we enter a new year and a new decade

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The industry has focused on innovating business models in ways that are more patient-centric

Alok Sonig, CEO – US Generics and Global Head – Generics R&D & Biosimilars, Lupin

The approval and launch of the COVID-19 vaccines is a beacon of hope as we enter 2021. Economic activity across markets has started normalising and we will continue to see stable trends and recovery and expect this momentum to be accelerated, particularly with the rollout of the vaccine.

The generic pharma industry has been focused on ensuring access of medicines to patients during these tough times and has ensured a stable supply chain through the pandemic. The industry has also focused on exploring ways of innovating business models in ways that are more patient-centric. The industry has leveraged technology to deliver information and medicines to patients and physicians in the backdrop of reduced in-person interactions.

We will seek to leverage these digital trends and we see digitalisation as a cornerstone of our business strategy, with a potential to impact across our value chain in research, manufacturing, quality operations, and commercial go-to-market strategies. Just as more patients seek engagement with physicians from the comfort of their homes through virtual platforms, we have been exploring ways of enabling our commercial teams to engage with Healthcare Practitioners (HCPs) via digital platforms. We look forward to accelerating this transformation across our value chain.

For us at Lupin, innovation is driven by what patients want and we are riveted to addressing their medical and access burden. We have accelerated the development of our novel products’ pipeline. We are excited and look forward to bringing these complex, limited-competition products to the market.

The thrust now should be on R&D to create new drug development opportunities

Sanjiv Navangul, MD and CEO, Bharat Serums and Vaccines

The disruption brought about by the pandemic made the pharma sector realise its strengths while exposing the chinks in the armour. Quick to realise its dependence on China for APIs, India soon reduced its dependence. Consequently, the government initiatives, which are already underway to make local drug manufacturers self-sufficient, will be crucial. Leveraging the ecosystem created during and before the pandemic, the thrust now should be on R&D to create new drug development opportunities. As an organisation, we would like to invest in R&D from our early success with the equine antibodies’ project. We are currently conducting phase III trials on Ulinastatin.

The pandemic tested the supply chain resilience too. It is imperative that the industry integrates digital innovation in a bid to strengthen the supply chain. Scaling up existing export markets while entering high-opportunity markets will create new avenues of growth. Also, the regulator and the industry have to display the same co-ordination and commitment as displayed during the pandemic to facilitate new growth areas for the sector.

A template for the future will be optimising the operations while developing enhanced trust in employees. A lean and efficient organisation improves efficiency while bringing down costs. Systems and initiatives that further enhance transparency, agility, accountability and collaboration will garner stakeholder confidence.

Innovative employee engagement practices built on greater trust in our people have empowered employees. A customer-centric and employee focused organisation is adept at wading through the challenges of the upcoming times.

Self-reliance and digitalisation will be a big part of our strategy

Mahidhwaj Sisodia, EVP, Sales and Marketing, Cadila Pharma

One of the biggest learnings, COVID-19 pandemic has brought us is that we, as individuals, as an industry and as a country, need to together work towards improving the healthcare system across the globe.

This year we needed to focus on the following:

  • To look beyond regular by rising to the occasion
  • The accelerated pace at which digitalisation needs to take place involving all stakeholders. We were able to transform and adapt ourselves quickly to the changing scenario.

We believe moving forward, self-reliance and digitalisation will be a big part of our strategy. We have aligned our supply chain and distribution strategies accordingly by making them more agile and resilient in face of disruptions. Digital tools and automation will play an essential role to expedite processes of approvals, remote monitoring, quality and risk – assessment amongst others.

We at Cadila Pharma continue to invest further in creating innovative healthcare solutions in the areas of vaccines, antibiotics and pain management, among other therapeutic areas. We are also looking at all government regulatory agencies for further alignment of their policies to support and ease the transition.

Create razor-sharp focus on prevention and wellness space

Chandru Chawla, Executive VP, CIPLA

In reimagining its future success, India Pharma Inc must pay heed to all its learnings of the recent months – respecting nature, patient and employee centricity, agility and adaptability to embrace new technologies and work processes, de-risking, simplifying and strengthening its core business model, and finding traditional and unconventional avenues of growth.

Future success may depend on:

  • Going beyond the development, manufacture and supply of products to weaving a web of services around them
  • Embracing digi-tech across the value chain to find more efficiency, more predictability, friendlier and faster innovation and more precise customer touchpoints
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of the total business including that of the supply chain and product end of life, to going carbon negative in 10-15 years by adopting renewable energy, green processes and creating carbon sinks
  • Building a range of ‘biology’ and ‘clinical’ capabilities and go up the innovation value chain over the medium to long term
  • Creating a razor-sharp focus on prevention and wellness space, with a keen eye on nutrition and proprietary Ayurveda
  • Diversifying the geography and mix of supply to constantly integrate, indigenise and bring supplies closer to the markets

All stakeholders should work together to strengthen the clinical trial ecosystem in our country