What is happening?
- One of the crucial parts of the pharma industry’s result-oriented strategic plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is the source of APIs. API stands for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient, which is nothing, but the raw material included in the manufacturing of medicines.
- India supplies APIs to regions across the world for generic drug manufacturing that also includes supplies of about 30 percent of the generic APIs utilized in the US.
- In terms of volume, the top producers and exporters of APIs are China and Indian manufacturers place heavy reliance on imports from China- procuring about 70% of required APIs from the nation.
- This reliance has been exposed to a great extent due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The adoption of the quarantine policy across different provinces of China has led to the disruption of the supply chain and manpower shortage.
- In addition to this, supplies were deeply impacted due to the restriction in movement in the logistics and transportation system to and from ports.
Clinical research and healthcare visits are difficult to implement due to the ongoing travel restrictions. Gradually the industry is embracing the shift towards remote and digital monitoring techniques. This is proved by the scaling up of investments in internal R&D for remote monitoring, by using platforms such as virtual clinical trials. The requirement has led to an increase in applications for business loans. Business loan eligibility has been relaxed for the pharma industry and business loan interest rates are available at a reasonable level.
If we take an example, Industry A and B wish to apply for a business loan with a financial institution for medical research. They can get a fair understanding of the EMI payment with help of an online business loan EMI calculator. Once they compare business loan interest rates offered by various institutions, they can apply for a business loan.
- The Pharma industry is adopting the ‘Remote patient monitoring (RPM)’ strategy to provide clinical care as effectively and efficiently as possible to safeguard public health in testing times.
- RPM method of operation makes use of smartphones, connected devices, and telemedicine to stay connected to patients.
- It is proving to be quite beneficial for tracking and managing infected and high-risk patients who are facing difficulty and being unstable.
What is the Current Situation?
- Pharma industry indeed failed to provide the required medical support due to the numerous challenges faced by it during the start of this pandemic, it took a while to adapt and adopt new ways of working
- As millions of workers returned home to safety, the processing units of pharma companies functioned at a decreasing capacity and the factories ended up being underutilised. Supply chain disruption led to the unavailability of raw materials and packing materials for a long period
- Dealers and sellers in regions of Baddi, Goa, and Sikkim which are the major suppliers of medicines across India suffered losses due to lack of drug movement
- People had to suffer during emergencies due to lack of availability of hospital beds, oxygen supplies, medications. There was short supply across cities even for accommodation in morgues and crematoriums
- As time passes by, firms are trying to implement standard safety policies and norms and compensate for the loss of income to workers by offering them a bonus.
- This practice in turn is encouraging the workers to return to work and the labour crisis is gradually starting to fade away.
- Once this hurdle is passed, the next step is to improve the financial position of the company.
- Cutting down on unnecessary costs, introducing cost-saving projects, recalculating the estimated capital expenditure and re-allocating company resources are some methods.
- The companies are also benefiting by renegotiating leases as they turn to digital operational models by leveraging the digital platforms to hold meetings and conduct their research and operations.
The government is boosting the Indian pharma industry by introducing tax exemptions and offering them subsidies to conduct their operations. Industries must utilize the business loan capital to develop personal hygiene practices. Business loan interest rate savings can further be reinvested for providing the facility of free medical checkups or offering ancillary services during emergencies.