CARGOCONNECT-NOVEMBER 2020 - Flipbook - Page 34
PHARMA SUPPLY CHAIN
"This level of agility was never
seen in the so called stable and
consistent pharmaceutical industry"
Healthcare industries, which were already
under huge strain across the world, have
been placed under unprecedented pressure.
But, as the saying goes, there’s always light
at the end of the tunnel and we’re beginning
to see positive signs. With such a focus on
drug development and also on searching
for existing drugs that can help the fight
against COVID-19, the Indian pharmaceutical
industry has been central and will continue
to play a leading role in the months to come.
Ravi Kumar Tummalapalli, Head of
Logistics- APAC, China, Japan at Teva
Pharmaceuticals reveals more about the
healthcare supply chain that remains largely
uninterrupted and has an adequate inventory
of products across its network. Excerpts from
his conversation with Upamanyu Borah.
ooking more specifically
at the current bottlenecks impacting patient
access in India, what would
you underscore as the first
priorities that stakeholders
should focus on?
The scale and magnitude of
this pandemic forced all countries irrespective of how developed they are, to step back
and rethink priorities for their
people and ways to enhance
the quality of the healthcare
Such large scale mobilisation of the Indian healthcare
infrastructure has never occurred since independence. In
the last few months, we have
seen a substantial increase in
healthcare facilities, specifically for patients with coronavirus disease.
Looking at the groundlevel situation, considering
that the vaccine would be
available soon, it is already
late for us to devise a mechanism to make it available to
the common man. Indian government has setup a highlevel committee to work with
the leading manufacturers of
the vaccine and also develop
a strategy road map to connect all the stakeholders in the
system, whether public or private. They are already involving many pharmaceutical
34 | CargoConnect November 2020
companies, defense systems,
logistics organisations, as well
as activating the grassrootslevel healthcare workers who
would go house-to-house for
immunisation activity. India
has pioneered such efforts in
the past for eradication of Polio and Tuberculosis.
There is a greater level of
synchronisation required between the central and state
governments in channelising
efforts, allocation of resources,
and setting up of community
medical centres which must
be conveniently situated in
neighbourhoods. This will
help real consumption of services and the right support
reaching the right and needy.
ow have you seen pharma companies develop
new ways of manufacturing
to adapt to the dynamic and
For pharmaceutical manufacturers, this situation was a one-off.
Most of the Chinese inputs
in the form of APIs, excipients
or any packing components
stopped over night creating
unprecedented logistics challenges. If there is no local
backup supplier for such input
materials, conditions became
really unfavourable for pharma companies to identify,
qualify, and in some cases,
taking regulatory approval
turns a herculean task. Fortunately, most of the manufacturers had some amount of
inventory stocked due to the
Chinese New year in February
when Chinese suppliers suspend operations for around
two weeks. However, the happiness lasted only for a couple
of weeks for manufacturers.
Consequently, the manufacturers had to halt their productions overnight, re-examine and shift entire portfolio.
This was the need of the hour
to meet the requirements on
hand. This level of agility was