Written By: Meenkashi Baiswar
The Indian Pharmaceutical industry has been a World leader in generics both globally and in domestic markets contributing significantly to the global demand for generics in terms of volume.
The impact of coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown it triggered is clearly visible in all sectors and so there will be several resets in a post-COVID-19 World. In the Pharmaceutical sector, broadly, its impacts can be seen in production, supply chain, and workforce management. India’s large import dependence on China (nearly 70% by value) has become a significant threat to India’s healthcare manufacturing and global supply chain. This over-dependence on China for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients ( API ) and some critical Key Starting Materials ( KSM ) will become a challenge in the coming times. At the same time, it is an opportunity for the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry to become the biggest manufacturer and exporter of pharma generics and APIs in the world. For example, Its anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, considered a potential treatment for Covid-19 in certain countries opens a great possibility. Another important long-term change will be an increase in demand for factory workers globally, as companies lessen their dependence on China.
More traditional pharmaceutical processes will shift to agile models that allow for expediting processes for future emergencies. As the future of work becomes more remote and distributed, demand may shift to new capabilities and talent. Pharmaceutical organizations may have a greater need for talent that can program, operate, and interpret data from the new technologies. For example, there may be less focus on requirements to work on-site and the post-COVID 19 workforces will be at ease working remotely. Digital and analytical tools and automation will be the engines that will accelerate agility and transparency.
The Industry is at crossroads and change is inevitable. How the Industry responds, both to the immediate crisis and in the path to the next normal will depend on lots of factors including Government rules and regulations, Global stance towards China, Industry’s conscience towards labour and creating an environment of safety for them and their families and also an investment in robotic manufacturing to lower the labour intensity.
Over lots of speculation, the world order is going to change and countries will look for a Plan-B for their global supply chain and imports, India is set to gain from this sentiment. More reasons for the pharmaceutical industry to gain from this is through its already established presence in the Global Generics market and having the highest USFDA approved plants after China. It’s time the pharma industry looks inwards for complete independence across the value chain products and set to capture higher global market share and expand to newer territories.
Meenakshi is working as a Senior Manager in Resonacle.