Digitalization in pharma operations inevitable but challenges remain: Top CEOs

Industry captains  and regulators in the ecosystem deliberate on achieving excellence and quality in operations, vaccine development and sustainability

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New Delhi: “We have developed our technologies internally for generics and now we have to collaborate with the ones who have already done it and then leverage those. The talent required for some technologies is not present in India so collaboration with global partners will help address this issue,” says Umang Vohra, CEO, Cipla while echoing his views on newer modalities such as biosimilars.
Vohra was speaking at the panel discussion on the ‘Sustainable end-to-end Operations and Quality Excellence – Path Forward’ on the sidelines of the two-day Global Pharmaceutical Quality Summit 2022 organized by the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA). This session was moderated by Gautam Kumra, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company.
Speaking about challenges in the digitization journey, G V Prasad, Co-Chairman, Dr Reddy’s said, “While digitalization is inevitable, there is still a challenge to digitize since underlying processes need to be mastered and understood to enhance efficacy of the digitization process. Industry leaders will have to be more agile, make data-driven leadership decisions with science and common sense coming together.”
Elaborating on crystalizing his vision on quality, Nilesh Gupta, Managing Director, Lupin said, “Quality and compliance was a very company-specific issue, and it has changed due to forums such as this, which have allowed us to work towards a collective goal. Information sharing has been an enormous support system. We are known to be Pharmacy of the World and we are fortunate to have achieved this position. In the next 5 years it will be great to be known as best in class with the help of forums such as this which promote open dialogue.”
Addressing the issue of severe supply chain shock during COVID-19,  Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharmaceutical spoke about building resilience. “Creating options is important to have a backup. Government PLI schemes are helping to create a self-contained supply chain and helped in efficient supply during the pandemic. Yet, there is a long way to go, and we shall gradually bridge the gap,” he said.
Talking about the biggest trends in operations and quality in the industry, Pankaj Patel, Chairman, Zydus Lifesciences said, “COVID-19 has brought the focus on technology, automation and ushered our digital entry into manufacturing and supply chain. Even on the API front, newer technologies for manufacturing have emerged and entry into the Biosimilar market can be envisaged.”