India's coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown has impacted the manufacturing and supply chain operations of pharmaceuticals despite pharmaceutical manufacturing being considered an essential service and excluded from the lockdown. However, government initiatives have helped to minimize disruptions to pharmaceutical manufacturing and the supply chain, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The issues faced by the pharmaceutical industry include slowdown in the production due to lack of manpower, difficulties with the supply of raw materials, transportation, logistics and closure of ancillary companies involved in the packaging and printing. Additionally, transportation problems have led to supply issues of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine (HCQS) needed for Covid-19 patients, insulin and other refrigerated medicines, in some parts of the country.
“It is important that Indian drug manufacturing is not disrupted due to the lockdown. India is a key player in the global generic drug industry and supply disruptions will affect the exports. Furthermore, several of these generic drugs have been repurposed for the treatment and prophylaxis of Covid-19 which has increased India’s role in the global pharmaceutical market,” Nag Madhavi, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, says.
The Government of India has undertaken different measures to prevent disruption in the pharmaceutical industry. In order to monitor the real time status of the transportation and delivery of essential commodities, a control room has been set up by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). The state drug controllers were instructed by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to provide operational data on a daily basis.
In addition, the Indian Postal Service is also being involved in the transportation of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is working on developing information technology platform to track the hydroxychloroquine (HCQS) stock, which is considered as an important drug for the treatment of healthcare workers and patients during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The pandemic has created immense pressure at all levels of society including the government and the corporate sector. However, the government’s intervention has helped minimize the majority of the challenges being faced by the pharmaceutical industry and improving the situation at the manufacturing and supply chain level. Such strategies will help India to cater to both the domestic and the global pharmaceutical market, during these difficult times,” says Madhavi.