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Increasing value chain efficacy, need of the hour

Arjun Juneja
Thursday, November 24, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

India has emerged as the third-largest pharmaceutical producer in volume globally. According to IBEF, the sector fulfils 40 per cent of generic demand in the US, while 25 per cent of all medicine in the UK. The Indian pharma industry is emerging as a significant and rising player. The country is eyeing a promising $ 130 billion market by 2030.

To establish strong resilience in the international market it is crucial to strengthen our R&D to match the quality standards. For instance, we need to undertake steps to emerge as a resilient industry by increasing the efficacy of its value chain. Looking at the perennially changing landscape of the sector, being adaptive and innovative in any circumstances is the ideal way to accentuate the position in the market.

For the pharma industry to succeed, it is paramount to bring reformations at three levels to withstand the competitive market by conforming to the highest quality products and services as per industry benchmarks.

Manufacturing network strategy
Manufacturing takes an exceptionally crucial position in the pharma process. Hence, the industry must have a strong manufacturing strategy to avoid falling prey to common mistakes. Most of the time, pharma companies are prone to give in to acute pressure. In the situation of a triggered event, companies often come up with rushed responses that are not supported by any strategic approach or comprehensive analysis and hence fail to fulfill the claimed promises.

Along with this, pharma companies also get lost in short-term goals. Taking into account the basic example of selecting a site, the companies get carried away with the attractiveness of the location, failing to realize that the location is ought to change over the years by the time the site is fully functional. To avoid making such mistakes, it is important to keep a manufacturing strategy in place to stay focused on long-term goals.      

Companies that invest time, effort, and resources in creating their manufacturing strategies reap significant rewards. While implementing manufacturing strategies, internal and external aspects should be evaluated well in advance. For instance, the foremost responsibility that comes internally is to enable priorities and core processes to make sure manufacturing occurs smoothly and there is no disparity in the product life cycle and distribution management. The external part should be robust and agile enough to look at the demand forecast and customer expectations. There should be unified communication with outward partners and suppliers.

A well-planned manufacturing strategy in place drives radical, comprehensive, systematic, and long-term success. It adds to the resilience of the industry by optimizing resources and giving a competitive edge to the operations. Effective manufacturing strategies push the various operations, including product portfolio, technology outlook, buying, and future value chain. Enforcing relevant strategies helps formulate solutions to unforeseen situations like risk, limitation of the global supply chain and other challenges in the market.

Reshaping pharma launch & commercial strategy
The industry needs to continuously reshape its launch and commercial strategy to cater to the prevalent scenario.

Companies must devise a successful launch that can strongly withstand market barriers such as intensive competition, increasing pricing pressure, prevalent access challenges, and many more.

Following the traditional launch model renders it incapable of making a place in the market. A major example can be taken from the pandemic. The unannounced breakout of Covid-19 disease brought in disruptions at various levels of operations. The age-old practice of face-to-face meetings of healthcare professionals with the pharma companies had become obsolete and in-person meetings had to be immediately replaced with remote engagements through various digital channels to effectively maintain the line of communication with the patients and pharma representatives alike. From engaging with sales representatives to conducting patient consultancy, companies turned to virtual meetings to reach out to the end customers in every value chain.

It helped pharma companies to interact with healthcare professionals to understand the changing requirement and stay up-to-date with the latest perspectives, which helped them in developing product-oriented and company-centered approaches to content. Streamlining agile approaches with the healthcare professionals helped the companies in gathering feedback and capturing the iteration that contributed immensely to reducing development cycles, content creation, and review processes.

It enabled each product launch to be supported by a set of marketing and medical modules that covered the full spectrum of HCP needs.   

With time the industry must innovatively harness the other aspects of digital transformation and not be limited to communication. It must be agile enough to create a data pool and devise a predictive model to yield surprising results.

Scaling R&D capabilities for digital innovation
The Indian pharmaceutical market needs to heavily invest in research & development for fostering innovation. A strong R&D helps improve production efficiencies and competitiveness. The research-based pharma industry will be a major step in meeting medical needs with the aid of innovation-driven cures.

The healthcare sector is constantly under pressure to meet the affordability strain of the patients. This tends to pose profitability challenges owing to underperforming sales targets. Therefore, there is high responsibility on the pharma companies to bring down the cost of products in the market while not compromising on the quality of the product. Resorting to R&D with focus on new science portfolios, digital and data-led research, and faster smarter development will be useful in coming up with a competitive-priced and innovative product line.

With the help of R&D, companies can oversee the smooth digital transition and effortlessly incorporate blockchain for safeguarding clinical data and practicing data privacy. The R&D-enabled digital transformation goes way beyond in enhancing the output with the help of seamless drug traceability, patient data, and other information giving useful insights to improve the product line. Deciphering the data points will be a major step in understanding the disease patterns, estimating the disease onset, and recognizing the seasonal breakout.

All the factors together will improve efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency in healthcare delivery. In line with this, the government’s introduction of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) program is an initiative to digitize individual health records with the intervention of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. This is a constructive step that will add to the sustainability and resiliency of the sector. 

(The author is Chief Operating officer of Mankind Pharma)


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