Express Pharma

To accelerate recovery of pharma ancillary industry, primary focus should be financial relief to players

Rishabh Bindlish, MD, India Life Sciences and Global Generics Lead, Accenture in India talks about the measures needed to revive the pharma ancillary industry and make it more risk-proof, in an exclusive interaction with Tarannum Rana

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The distribution of ancillary supplies, which include necessary drug manufacturing components like APIs, excipients and packaging material, suffered a severe setback as the government implemented a nationwide lockdown to curb the coronavirus spread. What is the full measure of the disruption caused in the ancillary industry in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

While the pharma sector in the country was able to operate during the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the $9 billion ancillary industry faced severe restrictions during this time. With many industries/products not falling under the ‘essential business’ umbrella, ancillary companies faced challenges around manpower availability, logistics disruptions, and raw material shortages.

While these issues have largely been resolved with the re-opening of the economy, financial distress continues to a big challenge, especially those within the MSME category. With the government announcing various assistance packages to financially stabilise these firms, disbursal of these packages has been an ongoing challenge leading to severe financial stress for smaller players.

The report ‘REVIVING THE PHARMA ANCILLARY INDUSTRY’ suggested that partnerships, especially the ones formed between big pharma companies and MSMEs, could go a long way in strengthening the ancillary industry in India. How will such a partnership function? What are the various benefits that the participating companies may enjoy?

MSMEs represent 60 per cent of the ancillary industry and are a vital part of the pharma supply chain. The partnership between large pharma companies and ancillary players is envisioned as a mutually beneficial relationship that will result in creating a transparent view of the customer and the supplier network across the value chain.

Through these partnerships, large pharma companies can mentor the ancillary players by providing them access to frugal innovation, while also supporting demand aggregation across ancil