Digital transformation in the Indian Pharmaceutical sector is not new, it has started a decade ago. The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated it. Recently, the agility in the pharmaceutical industry along with the healthcare sector has been observed across the globe. With full-fledged vaccination administration in the process and with a self-sufficient agenda for redefining the business model, it becomes important for India to reevaluate its current role in the global pharmaceutical market.
In view of this, in the latest episode of #DigitalSuccess Dialogue, we talked about the digital transformation taking place in the Indian pharmaceutical sector that is driving the sector towards global leadership. We were privileged to have the stalwarts from the pharma sector, Lion Daara B Patel, secretary-General of the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), Salil S. Kallianpur, founder and MD of ARKS Knowledge Consulting Pvt. Ltd, Dr Amit Rangnekar, Head of Supply Chain and Digital Strategy at Centaur Pharmaceuticals, Abhishek Rungta, CEO of INT. and Dinesh Chindarkar, Co-founder of MediaMedic Communications.
During the pandemic, the pharmaceutical sector has re-focussed its in-person dealings to virtual. As the industry has accelerated digital transformation, there has been changing in treating patients by harnessing technology. One such instance that Amit elucidates on precision therapy for treating depression. “By deploying machine learning analytics, HCPs treat mental ailments based on tracking, correlating, and scoring three factors – cognitive function, clinical symptoms, and brain activity.”
As the Indian Pharmaceutical industry grabs digital transformation, scenarios accompanied by increased usage of advanced technology will see a rise in precision medicine in the next few years.
If there is a positive fallout for the ongoing situation then it is embracing convenience by both patient and pharma stakeholders. According to Salil, “the concept of time and distance has gone away” as we are going through digital transformation. The social distancing norm has discarded the importance of physical proximity, consumers can conveniently avail the service without being present there. Be it teleconsultation or telemedicine, time and distance isn’t the issue anymore.
From the perspective of pharma marketers, Salil stressed the importance of gathering information such as cognitive, behavioural and etc from the digital assets. This made him conclude that “A lot of digitisation is about personalisation”. Today, pharma sales reps leverage these data and deploy digital tools to make the product or service relevant to the consumer. The humongous amount of data reveals the demographic information and unveils much cognitive informatics, which makes it easier for sales reps to bring in personalisation with the relevant product/service.
In a nutshell, it can be said that moving to the virtual has made the process dematerialisation. As for availing of the healthcare services, the consumers can access it conveniently at home; similarly, service providers collaborate with HCPs at their convenient time slot to engage and talk about new products.
With an outsider’s approach to pharma, Abhishek Rungta, CEO, INT. came up with various visible trends in the healthcare industry. If it is decentralising computing through edge computing, he has also talked about microservice architecture where various collaborations were seen to create an innovative product. The third and the most exciting point, Rungta stressed, is on product-based marketing, “Product innovation is the only thing that will increase the value for the consumer. The more the product fits as a solution to the pain point of the consumer, it will increase its acceptance in the market.”
Quality is the primary concern today when it comes to the pharmaceuticals industry. To focus on the quality even when physical presence is an obstruction, Lot of quality checks are happening virtually. Regulators are adopting numerous digital tools to inspect the quality at a large scale. As Patel informed that “For minor things, flying down is not really needed as we have tools like google glasses for inspections and assurance of quality is possible through digitisation”.
Thus we will see more collaboration of medical and technical through pharma regulators and IT professionals in the coming age for transforming the pharma industry.
To sum up, digitisation is the only way pharma can be led towards success. On this note, Chindarkar commented that “Lot of disruption is happening in healthcare; similarly a lot of acceleration is seen in the pharma industry as well. We are talking of augmented reality, virtual reality and predictive analytics- buzzwords within the industry.” Agreeing to it, Abhishek concluded that “Digital should be used as a tool to achieve the predefined goal, rather than forcing it into the system.”