Indian pharma faced with complex supply chain system: Expert

The country also needs a dynamic Single Point of Contact (SPOC) from warehousing to last mile distribution.

Medical Store Pharmacy
Picture: Pixabay

Last Updated on February 28, 2021 by The Health Master

Indian pharma is now putting up with complex supply chain situations covering rising price of fuel and increasing labour costs together with the logistics management challenges.

Investments are found wanting in real-time access of stock movement / temperature data loggers across the country.

The country also needs a dynamic Single Point of Contact (SPOC) from warehousing to last mile distribution.

Medicine Tablets
Picture: Unsolash

Emphasising the need for an advanced cold storage for the Indian pharma sector, J B Chowhan, founder and chairman, Vardhman Health Specialities Group Companies said that one of the reasons for a complex supply chain environment has been the presence of too many channels of distributions starting from manufacturing hubs, CFAs (Carrying and Forwarding Agent), distributors to retail pharmacies which are all over India.

Medicines are required to be transported to the faraway places with poor connectivity and usage of passive cooling systems. Going by the transport facilities over 25% of the revenues by the pharma manufacturer have been spent on the transportation only.

The problem of poor supply chain management becomes even more severe when the temperature sensitive medications such as vaccines and lifesaving drugs face distance impediments, Chowhan told.

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There is a stringent regulatory guidance by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) to ensure the quality and identity of pharmaceutical products during all aspects of the distribution process.

These are not limited to procurement, purchasing, storage, distribution, transportation, documentation and record-keeping practices. But what impacts the growth of cold supply chain sector is the lack of required infrastructure and traceability.

During the ongoing C-19 pandemic, drug supply chain management in India has seen a humongous growth, with the indispensability of cold storage support for the lifesaving vaccinations.

Also read: Pharma supply chain in India: must read article

Yet India needs a network of central & multiple regional warehouses which requires investment for inventory. There is definitely a requirement for end-to-end batch wise traceability, with temperature monitoring, bar coding.

In addition, companies in the cold supply chain arena go through cumbersome agreement protocols with domestic air couriers, snickering, and returns etc.

There is major paucity of good distribution practice (GDP) compliant pharma warehouses. Medicine batch traceability in real time would help keep not-of-standard quality and spurious drugs at bay, pointed out Chowhan.

The global pharmaceutical supply chain management is expected to grow double fold in the coming years.

Therefore it is crucial for the cold chain logistics market to look at innovations and investments to research on cold supply chain management in India.

Some of these area would be setting up of Super Specialty, Pharma Warehousing and Distribution, last mile connectivity, digital platforms of Internet of Things, Blockchain, secured data management, and annual quality audits.

In addition, the other focused areas include 24×7 Patient Service Focussed, Easy Payment Methods and Online ordering facility, NPI (Name patient Import) of research molecules and an excellent CRM customer relation management with the 1500+ multi speciality hospitals across India, said Chowhan.

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