Discuss and debate on traceability and serialization and its role in the Indian pharma sector
The first-ever Pharma CXO Summit, organised by Express Pharma, and powered by the OPTEL Group, was held over the last two days, i.e. 9-10 November at Alila Diwa, Goa.
The theme for the inaugural edition was ‘Beyond 2017 ─ Leveraging global traceability for sustainable business and growth’. It saw veterans and experts of the pharma industry convene to discuss and debate on whether traceability will be the cornerstone of sustainable future growth. It also examined and explored various serialization strategies adopted by pharma companies to gain a competitive advantage.
The event got off to an auspicious start with the lamp lighting ceremony. Viveka Roychowdhury, Editor, Express Pharma was joined by Ravi Uday Bhaskar, Director General – Pharmexcil; Shaunak J Dave, CEO & MD, OPTEL Group India, VP (Asia), OPTEL Group; Bejon Misra, Founder, Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) India and Dr Ajit Dangi, CEO, Danssen Consulting in lighting the ceremonial lamp.
It was followed by a Welcome Address by Roychowdhury, wherein she extended her heartfelt thanks to the esteemed delegates for making time in their busy schedules to attend the Summit. She also elaborated on the vision of the event and pointed out how pertinent it was to discuss on this year’s theme, given that countries across the globe are already implementing or set to enforce track & trace and serialization mandates by 2018.
The next speaker, Bejon Misra, Founder, Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) India, set the context for the event and emphasised on the need to put the patient first in any endeavour undertaken in the life sciences industry. He also highlighted that traceability in the pharma supply chain is a right step towards ensuring wellbeing of the most important stakeholder in this sector – the patient. At the same time, he also urged the regulators to offer more clarity on the laws to ensure easy implementation and compliance. Misra also recommended collaborations between the industry stakeholders to come up with affordable traceability solutions to enable their wide-spread adoption.
Next, Shaunak J Dave, CEO & MD, OPTEL Group India, VP (Asia), OPTEL Group took the stage to welcome the delegates as the supporting partner of the Pharma CXO Summit. He spoke on the importance of traceability in the life sciences sector to ensure safety and quality of drugs. He also assured the delegates that the OPTEL Group, with its range of solutions, is well positioned to serve as a great partner to pharma companies as they embark on their serialization journey.
The subsequent speaker, Ravi Uday Bhaskar, Director General – Pharmexcil, lauded Express Pharma for initiating this Summit and reiterated Misra’s stand that the patients’ benefit should be paramount in any undertaking by the life sciences sector, be it by the government or the industry. He also said that India’s pharma sector is poised for growth and urged the industry to devise effective serialization strategies to leverage the growth opportunities and enhance their global footprint. At the same time, he also recommended the solutions providers to deliver cost-effective solutions and encourage the industry to embrace serialization and encourage traceability.
Serialization and traceability based on GS1 standards was the topic before the next speaker, Subrato Dey, Head, Western Regional Office, GS1 India. He gave an elaborate presentation on the GS1 initiative and explained how these standards help efficiency, safety, collaboration and sustainability in the pharma sector. He also listed down the myriad benefits that the standards seek to provide such as saving time, reducing error, reducing operational cost, preventing counterfeits, authenticating products, providing interoperability, making products visible in supply chain etc. He also urged Indian pharma companies to go for harmonisation with global standards to be at the top of the game.
The next session was a panel discussion on the theme of the event, ‘Leveraging Global Traceability for Sustainable Business & Growth’. Moderated Roychowdhury, the eminent panel also comprised Bhaskar, Dr HG Koshia, Commissioner, Food & Drugs Control Administration, Gujarat; Daara Patel, Secretary General, IDMA; and Dave. The panelists debated and deliberated on different aspects of serialization, including the need for it in the first place, implementation strategies if it becomes mandatory in all global markets, the various opportunities and challenges it unfolds, dealing with cost concerns, technology’s role in making serialization effective and efficient etc., during the course of the discussion.
The panelists were divided in their opinions. Patel was opposed to making serialization compulsory as SMEs do not have the funds needed to implement it. He also argued that India’s drug quality is very superior and the fact that a big part of the world looks at it to supply medicines is an evidence of this fact. Dr Koshia was in favour of measures to constantly improve the standards of India Pharma Inc and highlighted the various initiatives implemented in his state to improve quality and safety of drug. Bhaskar also reiterated that there is a need for the industry to constantly evolve and urged the companies to take steps towards progress, of which one is serialization. At the same time, he also urged the providers to make these solutions more cost-effective. Dave emphasised that thought these is cost involved in adopting serialization, the move will prove to be very beneficial in the long course of time. He also highlighted that the OPTEL Group can help companies smoothen their serialization journey and make it more affordable as well as effective. Roychowdhury summed up the discussion very well and pointed out that like it or hate it, serialization is here to stay. She also said that it is time all stakeholders came together to make this journey simpler and efficient, thereby enabling the sector to embark on the next phase of growth.
The first part of the Pharma CXO Summit came to a close with this very interesting and interactive session. The delegates reconvened for Express Pharma Export Excellence Awards 2017, later in the evening.