The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed the healthcare and pharma industry’s focus on leveraging digital technologies. The pharma industry has embraced digitisation as an important integrant for delivering life-saving medicines to patients. Leveraging emerging technologies like data analytics, AI, machine learning in IoT will help expedite the pharma industry’s vision of ‘Make and Discover in India’ and to be a $120 billion dollar industry (from $42 billion now) by 2030.
Sudarshan Jain, Secretary General, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance said, “Pharmaceutical sector will be driven by smart factories and good production practices. Digital technologies in pharma industry will advance the progress of the industry. The pandemic enabled us to do work at a pace like never before. The industry has put in tremendous work and adapted remarkably to digital technology to produce and deliver medicines for patients in COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so in the future. We are innovating every day at every level though we are still at the early stages and have a long way to go on this digitisation journey.”
Many pharma company leaders recently came together at a Pharma Summit* to discuss the paradigm shift the industry witnessed during these testing times. The need of the hour is to adapt faster and learn quickly given the dynamic nature of regulatory environment. This has paved the way to generate novel business models.
Digitalisation has transformed relationships between doctors, patients, and pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, digital platforms are being used to collaborate across different functions of pharma operations to expedite the process of the drug delivery and development.
As the pandemic evolved, the healthcare and pharma industry witnessed increased adaptability to digital technologies. During the last 18 months, India has been one of the fastest adopters of digital technologies in telehealth/telemedicine. However, larger enablement to achieve operational excellence is needed while engaging with stakeholders in the digital ecosystem including physicians, patients, government, and more.
Understanding and adopting a patient-centric approach will help pharma companies to navigate the path of digital innovation. Now, pharma companies are looking beyond drug development to connect with patients through digital tools. In the digital world, companies must be cognizant about the entire journey of the patient, from diagnosis to diseases management. Gathering data-based insights from a patient’s journey will improve drug development and subsequently improve patient outcomes.
Due to COVID-19, people are more aware and involved in their health and disease management. This presents a huge opportunity for India to expand its digital health vision and mission. Healthcare providers should focus on the integration of digital technologies, and organisations should come together to add value for patients. These collaborations and partnerships will work as an enabler to bridge the healthcare demand and supply gap.
In the future, communication with the stakeholders will be a combination of in-person meetings and consultation and online events, and patient-centric approach will gain momentum. Accelerating digital transformation will improve efficiency, empower physicians and augment overall delivery of healthcare. Implementing customised digital solutions across manufacturing, supply-chain and customer connect initiatives will be key in the growth of the Indian pharmaceutical sector.
*ET Smart Pharma Summit Post Event Report in collaboration with knowledge partner: Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (https://www.ipa-india.org/resources/external-studies/)