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CPhI India Pre-Connect Congress held in Mumbai

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Experts discuss the current trends in pharma industry at the event

Sanjiv Das and Usha SharmaMumbai

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 of 32,000 visitors 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 the trend was one-way 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 markets.

Navangul spoke on the changing M&A scenario 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 is a need for a single approval system rather different ones at the Centre and the state. Pant further said, “Today, the problem faced by the industry is not with the quality but 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 he talked about the right time to market new products.

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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 on the need to create the right kind of ecosystem for growth. Krishnamurthy said, “We need to focus on technology, development and research.” He also said that there should be an initiative to reverse brain drain as many from our country are working abroad.

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.” However, he also added that a lot of engagement is happening from the government’s side.”

A 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.

An awards ceremony was also held. Under the nomination-based category, the awards went to Accutest Research Laboratories India for Excellence in Contract Research; Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility; Zydus Takeda Healthcare and Cadila Helathcare for Excellence in Environment, Health & Safety; Zydus Cadila Healthcare for Excellence in Packaging; Image Provision Technology for Excellence in Pharmaceutical Machinery/ Instrument; Piramal Enterprises for Excellence in Supply Chain & Logistics Management; Eisai Pharmaceuticals India and Abbott Healthcare for Operational Excellence; Cipla for Excellence in Rural Reach; Bharat Biotech International and Shilpa Medicare for Excellence in R&D; Cipla for Excellence in Brand/ Product.

Under the Jury’s Choice Awards, Vinita Gupta from Lupin received Personality of the year — Female, Mehul Shah from Encube Ethicals was Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, NH Israni from Blue Cross Labs got the Inspirational Leader award and Samprada Singh from Alkem Laboratories received the Lifetime Achievement award.

UBM Initiative Awards went to Globela Pharma as Emerging Exporter of the Year; Nitika Pharmaceutical Specialities as Leading Excipient Company; GMP Technical Solutions as Leading Clean Room Projects & Solutions; West Pharmaceutical Packaging India as Outstanding Primary Packaging for Injectibles; Linux Laboratories as Outstanding Customer Service; Thermolab Scientific Equipments as Leader in Stability Chamber and Medibox as Technology Start-up Award.

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