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CphI India Pre-Connect Congress held in Mumbai


Experts discuss the current trends in pharma industry at the event

The CphI India Pre-Connect Congress recently held in Mumbai, saw leading pharma experts discuss and provide unique insights on inorganic growth strategies, bridging gaps between regulatory authorities, transfer pricing concerns, the state of data integrity and the scope for biosimilars in the Indian market. The event started of with a welcome address by Rutger Oudejans, Brand Director, Pharma Portfolio, UBM EMEA. Oudejans said that this year’s CphI event is going to witness participation from over 100 countries.

Dr Sanjit Singh Lamba, Managing Director, Eisai Pharmaceuticals, in his opening remarks, spoke about how the Indian pharma industry have raised its standards on the domestic as well as the global front.

In a plenary session, Alagu Subramaniam, Country Manager and Director, West Pharma, talked about the trends in the injectables and particulates market in India.

This was followed by a session on India’s growing contribution to global pharma by Jim Tizzard, Chief Executive Officer, TAKE Life Sciences. Tizzard spoke about India’s contribution to the global pharma sector, the emerging Indian market, role of partners in the pharma industry, challenges in pricing strategies and accelerating growth in generics.

A series of panel discussions were held during the Congress. The first panel discussion on ‘M&A: Strategic deal-making for growing alliances and gaining a competitive advantage in emerging markets’ was moderated by Ajay Joseph, Partner, Lakshmikumaran and Sridharan Attorneys. The panelists were Sudhanshu Priyadarshi, Global COO, Cipla; Sanjiv Navangul, Managing Director, Janssen India and Sanjay Singh, Partner, Deal Advisory M&A, KPMG India.

Singh elaborated on how India has emerged significantly and has been able to acquire foreign assets. He said that initially it was an one-way trend where foreign companies used to acquire Indian companies. Now, the scenario has changed where domestic firms are eager to merge with their global counterparts.

Priyadarshi said that a lot of M&A activities are happening currently. Pharma companies are looking to diversify geographically. He talked about how Cipla has been able to enter the Japan and Russian market.

Navangul said that the M&A scenario is changing globally. So, companies need to ensure how to become competitive with cutting-edge technology. M&As will eventually help to plug-in certain gaps and assist in sustainable growth. He also mentioned that in India, stress is more on development than research activities.

The second panel discussion on ‘Bridging gaps between regulators across the world and creating synergies for the enhancement and reach of drugs’ was moderated by Akun Sabharwal, Director Controller of Drugs, Government of Telangana. The panelists were Daara Patel, Secretary General, IDMA; Dr Sanjit Singh Lamba, Managing Director, Eisai Pharmaceuticals; Abha Pant, President R&D (Formulations), Ipca Laboratories and D Roy, Former Deputy Drug Controller (India) Central Drugs Control organisation (CDSCO), Ministry of Health, Government of India.

Lamba stressed upon the need to upgrade regulatory mechanisms and streamline the inspection process. Pant said that there needs to have a single approval system rather than the Centre and the state. She further said, “Today, the problem being faced by the industry is not with the quality but with the process.”

A brief speech on ‘Digital platform for pharma and healthcare products for digital India’ was given by Bhavik Kumar, Co-founder and Director, Medibox Technologies where Kumar talked about the right time to market new products.

The next panel discussion was on ‘Navigating the transition of India from a manufacturing hub to a global pharmaceutical innovation and drug discovery destination.’ The panel was moderated by Utkarsh Palnitkar and the panelists were Ranjana Smetacek, Director General, OPPI; Dhileep Krishnamurthy, Vice President and Global Head-R&D, Piramal; Sudarshan Jain, Managing Director, Healthcare Solutions, Abbott Healthcare and Sharad Tyagi, Managing Director, Boehringer Ingelheim.

Jain stressed upon the fact to create the right kind of atmosphere. Krishnamurthy said, “We need to focus on technology, development and research. He also said that there should be an initiative to stop reverse brain drain as many from our people are working internationally.

Smetacek said that time is opportune and obstacles need to be removed in order to improve the overall scenario and the ecosystem. She talked about the initiatives by CSIR Chandigarh and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology.

The next panel discussion was on ‘Combating transfer pricing misery for pharmaceutical industry’. The panelists were Ramesh Swaminathan, CFO and President, Lupin, Simachal Mohanty, Senior Director — Taxation, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories; Giri Giridhar, Senior Director— Finance and Member of the India Board, Merck Sharpe and Dohme and Shilpa Udeshi, Director-Transfer Pricing, PwC.

Mohanty said, “Although transfer pricing principles are same, domestic implementations have issues.” He also added that however a lot of engagement is happening from the government’s side.”

Another panel discussion on ‘Assessing the potential gaps and analysing the state of data integrity compliance in Indian pharmaceutical industry’ was moderated by Vinay Nayak, Director, Surge Chemicals and the panelists were Vinod Kumar Kansal, President R&D, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Govind Srinivasan, Vice President- Technology Services Group, TAKE Solutions, Rashida Nazmi, Vice President- Corporate Quality, Piramal Healthcare and Subramanyam S, Director, Infionic.

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