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Advanced risk-management practices, digital tech adoption helped tide over Covid challenges: Experts

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian pharma entrepreneurs are of the view that advanced risk-management practices with digital tech adoption helped tide over Covid lockdown challenges.

The industry heads noted that they had proved their capability in meeting delivery timelines despite constrains in supply chain and workforce availability. From paper-less and contact-less operation, this industry devised a robust, data driven and action oriented strategy across its R&D, manufacture, quality control, packaging and marketing.

Sanjiv Navangul, managing director and CEO, Bharat Serums and Vaccines, said Covid learnings will help mitigate the future disruptions. This pandemic has changed the business environment and companies are only working towards strengthening operations and business resilience.

The Covid learnings have been unprecedented and our pharma industry needs to expand the bandwidth of collaborations. Digital adoption has made a sea change and has gone up substantially. Pharma companies opted for social media platforms to commence interactions for sales. Discussions with the regulatory agencies were seamless for Emergency Use Authorization and audits, said Kirti Ganorkar, head, India formulations business, Sun Pharmaceuticals at the 5th Indian Pharma and Medical Devices 2021virtual event held from February 27 and 28 and March 1 and 2.

Delving on the topic ‘Manufacturing and Supply Chain: Strengthening base in domestic and global markets’ on day 3 of the event, Rajendra Chunodakar, president, manufacturing operations, Lupin said that the Union government’s multi-purpose and multi-modal platform PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation) helped monitor and review situations. In the area of supply chain there was high variability. Companies created dash boards to provide stock status, inventory tracking to ensure no shortages of medicines.

Now supply chain is the backbone for pharma industry. We have responded timely to tackle the challenges arising from disruption in temperature controlled transportation which called for teamwork and change in business processes, said company heads.

Going paperless and creating a contactless operations was mandatory for companies as the coronavirus disease took several virulent turns. It is here investments in automated production lines replaced manual packaging operations. This also led to increase the efficiency and accuracy of product packaging. Further, we also saw a drastic reduction in equipment maintenance that eventually led to reduce operational costs, said Prasad Deshpande, senior vice president and head of global procurement, supply chain and contract manufacturing, Biocon.

A section of industry chiefs pointed out that Indian pharma with the productivity linked incentive (PLI) scheme from the Union government we expect this sector to get a fillip in manufacturing of key starting materials and will need to work toward capturing value chain of global markets.

Prof Kiran Kalia, director, NIPER Ahmedabad called for the need to adopt green chemistry processes. This, according to her, would minimize disposal of waste, use of hazardous materials, and reduce cost. Here, Indian pharma needs to collaborate with companies for solutions in green chemistry.


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