NOVEMBER 9, 2017
The event got off to an auspicious start with the lamp lighting ceremony followed by a Welcome Address, wherein Viveka Roychowdhury, Editor, Express Pharma addressed all the delegates at the event. She extended her heartfelt thanks to the esteemed delegates for making time in their busy schedules to attend the Summit. She also elaborated on the vision of the event and pointed out how pertinent it was to discuss on this year’s theme, given that countries across the globe are already implementing or set to enforce track & trace and serialization mandates by 2018.
Welcome Address by Optel
Shaunak J Dave, CEO & MD, OPTEL Group India, VP (Asia), OPTEL Group , welcomed the audience on behalf of the OPTEL Group. He threw more light on the current scenario in the pharma industry and the challenges faced by it, especially in exports. He pointed out that the pharma industry accounts for 20 per cent in terms of volume but only 1.4 per cent of value, in the global market. By 2020, it is estimated to reach $55 billion, where one third of the revenue will come from exports. He also drew attention to the growth opportunities in regulated markets like the US where India has 30 per cent of the market share in volumes and 10 per cent in value. In 2018 branded drugs worth $50 billion will become off patent, which is a tremendous opportunity. He said, “We need to become more innovative and do more investment in research. We need to establish Brand India as a leading destination for quality medicine at affordable prices.” Dave also highlighted the importance of traceability in achieving sustainable business and growth and how OPTEL can partner companies in this intitative.
Putting the Patient First
Bejon Misra, Founder, PSM India set the context for the whole summit by pointing out the need to keep the patients first on all initiatives by the lifesciences industry.
Misra spoke on the need to assure quality and safety of drugs for patients’ benefits
and the role of technology in doing so. Rooting for traceability adoption he said,
“There is a need for traceability and the Ministry of Commerce needs to mandate traceability for atleast exported medicines.” He said that this move will
protect Indian brands and medicines are protected. He informed, “We are on the final stage of drafting a regulation for sale of medicines within the country and there is a large element of tracking and traceability in that.” He also urged the regulators to offer more clarity on the laws to ensure easy implementation and compliance.
Misra also recommended collaborations between the industry stakeholders to come up with affordable traceability solutions to enable their wide-spread adoption.
Serialisation and traceability based on GS1 standards
Subrato Dey, Head, Western Regional Office, GS1 India addressed the audience and informed them about GS1 standards and elaborated on serialisation and traceability based on them. Emphasising on the need for global standards in healthcare supply chain, he explained how these standards help ensure efficiency, safety, collaboration and sustainability. He said, “GS1 provides the platform on which a solution can be built to address challenges of medication errors, counterfeiting and traceability.
Global standards eliminate inefficiencies in the supply chain and it reduces the risk of counterfeiting and lost business opportunities. Another reason for the need of global standards in healthcare is because of diverging regulatory requirements of each country. Different countries have different encoding requirement.”
He also informed that GS1 is working towards harmonising regulatory requirements across multiple countries. He further stated, “Traceability is the need of the day and that’s why we want to engage with the industry and bring out the best practices which can be used by the industry and develop the solution.”
Panel Discussion: Leveraging Global Traceability for Sustainable Business & Growth
The next session was a panel discussion on the theme of the event, ‘Leveraging Global Traceability for Sustainable Business & Growth’. Moderated by Viveka Roychowdhury, Editor, Express Pharma, the eminent panel comprised Ravi Uday Bhaskar, Director General, Pharmexcil; Dr H G Koshia, Commissioner, Food & Drugs Control Administration, Gujarat; Daara Patel, Secretary General, IDMA; Shaunak J Dave, CEO & MD, OPTEL Group India, Vice President (Asia), OPTEL Group.
The panelists debated and deliberated on different aspects of serialisation, including the need for it in the first place, implementation strategies if it becomes mandatory in all global markets, the various opportunities and challenges it unfolds,
dealing with cost concerns, technology’s role in making serialisation effective and efficient etc., during the course of the discussion.
The panelists were divided in their opinions. Patel was opposed to making serialisation compulsory as SMEs do not have the funds needed to implement it. He also argued that India’s drug quality is very superior and the fact that a big part of the world looks at it to supply medicines is an evidence of this fact. Dr Koshia was in favour of measures to constantly improve the standards of India Pharma Inc and highlighted the various initiatives implemented in his state to improve quality and safety of drug.
Bhaskar also reiterated that there is a need for the industry to constantly evolve and urged the companies to take steps towards progress, of which one is serialisation. At the same time, he also urged the providers to make these solutions more cost-effective. Dave emphasised that thought these is cost involved in adopting serialisation, the move will prove to be very beneficial in the long course
of time. He also highlighted that the OPTEL Group can help companies smoothen their serialisation journey and make it more affordable as well as effective.
Roychowdhury summed up the discussion very well and pointed out that like it or hate it, serialisation is here to stay. She also said that it is time all stakeholders came together to make this journey simpler and efficient, thereby enabling the sector to embark on the next phase of growth.
Panel Discussion: CEO Think Tank: Strategies for the next decade
The final part of the 1st day of the Pharma CXO Summit evening saw an interesting panel discussion titled, ‘CEO Think Tank: Strategies for the next decade’. Moderated by Utkarsh Palnitkar, Partner & National Head – Infrastructure, Government & Healthcare, National Head – Life Sciences Practice, KPMG India, an eminent panel comprising Dr Ajit Dangi, CEO, Danssen Consulting; K G Ananthakrishnan, Former VP & MD, MSD India; and Hitesh Sharma, Partner & National Leader – Life Sciences, EY, this session was aimed at giving CEOs in the audience – past, present and future – cause for introspection on their blueprint to confront a world filled with unprecedented challenges and opportunities.
Palnitkar set the context for the discussion by giving an understanding on the current scenario in the pharma sector and its growth story over the past couple of decades. Then he spoke that the panel will discuss and deliberate on what the future beholds for this sector and the strategies it needs to look at to ensure continuous growth. In the course of the discussion, he touched upon several pivotal issues ranging from the existing business models in the sector, strategies to create and protect intellectual property,
Dr Dangi pointed out that all these years, India’s competitive advantage has been cost but in times to come, this will not be sustainable. He advised that we will have to move up the value chain to continue its growth momentum. He recommended moving from cost arbitrage to intellectual arbitrage. Dr Dangi also said that the intellectual pool in India is deep and we just need to make optimal use of it to change the game in pharma from volumes to value.
Ananthakrishnan highlighted that there are challenges but the opportunities too are huge. He emphasised on the need to identify and leverage newer and unexplored growth opportunities. He also advised the domestic and MNC pharma companies to get into strategic partnerships to pool their skills, experience and strengths to create a win-win situation.
Sharma said that the pharma industry is brimming with potential. Funding is not the challenge but strategic vision. The sector should be more focussed on its growth path and invest wisely to enable its progress. Newer technologies, untried ideas etc are the need of the hour for India Pharma Inc’s progress. He spoke on how tech companies are partnering with pharma companies to embark on the next phase of growth.
The panelists were unanimous in their view that India Pharma Inc should invest in innovation to accelerate its progress. Ananthakrishnan recommended creating an ecosystem that encourages innovation. Dr Dangi spoke on the need for skill building in the sector to gear up for the future. Palnitkar emphasised on the necessity of de-stigmatising failures to nurture innovation while Sharma advised everyone to not be afraid of experimenting as innovation is often born from the lessons learnt from failures.
The other suggestions were creating a BIRAC-like institution for the pharma industry and utilising IT effectively to enable and inspire originality and out-of-the-box ideas.
The discussion concluded with the panelists reiterating that investing in innovation is a long-time strategy and this would be key to success in the next decade.