Pharma sector to focus on supply chain, Covid mgmt

Mumbai: Pandemic preparedness and supply chain alignment will be the priorities in 2023 for the domestic pharma sector as the threat of a new variant of coronavirus looms large for several countries, including India. Medicines, boosters and diagnostics — key ammo for fighting Covid — are in the spotlight once again.
Additionally, a focus on quality will dominate the agenda for pharma companies in the wake of recent deaths of children in Gambia and Uzbekistan, potentially due to adulterated cough syrups, industry experts told TOI.
The year 2022 had started with the country rolling out booster shots as the Omicron variant became dominant. Pharma companies prepared for the surge, built up huge stocks of key medicines, and launched oral antiviral pills. Thereafter, once the caseload reduced, they got back to boosting non-Covid portfolios and brand-building.
“Pandemic planning is back in the spotlight in the wake of global concerns around the spread of Covid in certain countries. Also, the China-plus-one strategy has become important with frequent disruptions, geopolitical issues and emphasis on self-reliance,” said Sujay Shetty, global health industries advisory leader at PwC India.
Zydus Lifesciences chairman Pankaj Patel told TOI, “The industry’s capabilities as a reliable supplier of drugs, resilience to deal with challenging healthcare situations and making breakthroughs with innovation were the highlights of 2022. Despite supply chain challenges due to the surge in demand of certain drugs multiple times in a short period, the industry was able to ensure consistent supplies. Also, vaccine development and supply for the mass vaccination programme proved India is ‘Atma Nirbhar’.”
Regarding the year ahead, Patel said, “In 2023, the industry is confident of tackling healthcare challenges, if the situation occurs again. It is by no means a small achievement that India today is the only country which has therapies approved for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which are unmet healthcare needs. Also, there is work being done on rare and orphan diseases, which have no treatment as of today, globally. So, in 2023 and beyond, we should be seeing Indian innovation coming into its own.”
Quality and innovation will be a core topic for the industry. Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance’s secretary general Sudarshan Jain summed up the main themes as innovation, quality, expanding global reach to Japan, China & Latin America, and self-reliance. “A focus on quality and in particular USFDA requirements will also dominate the agenda for 2023,” Shetty added.
Additionally, acceleration in digital transformation, e-pharmacies, telemedicine and a focus on preventive care will also be important. Further, deal activity will be lively in the sector, with a spate of mergers & acquisitions expected in active pharmaceutical ingredients (raw materials), formulations and health-tech.

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