Indian pharma industry sees that logistics is the key for the successful supply chain management of drugs. The sector which handles huge stock keeping units now will need to capitalise the advantage of analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure both qualitative and quantitative management of drugs.
According to PS Bhagavan, former deputy director, pharmacy, Karnataka department of health and family welfare, logistic failure, financial loss and consequent impact at the end-user level is yet to be addressed. The irony is that pharmacists are kept out of the cold chain management under National Immunization Programme.
“A similar absence of pharmacists prevail in the private drug supply chain management too. The reality is that truck full of medicines are parked in scorching temperatures on the highways. This would not have been the situation if the pharmacists were present at the loading and unloading bays where medicines are getting ready for transit or transfer,” he added.
The total absence of monitoring system, reporting channel of drug quality in transit requires professionalism. The presence of a pharmacist in logistics is the key for the successful supply chain management of drugs, said Bhagavan.
According to industry observers, there is need to invest anywhere between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of revenues into an integrated supply chain management as it can reduce total supply chain costs. If supply chain management is streamlined then it could also achieve reduction in inventory holding.
Effective supply chain management focuses on the customer and will certainly be the business enabler, going forward, according to an Ernst & Young report on ‘Unlocking the potential of the pharma distribution chain’.
India is committed to the adoption of modern technology for ensuring supply chain integrity of medicines besides creating strong regulatory framework for enforcement of newly introduced specific regulations, said SM Mudda, director, Global Strategy (Technical), Micro Labs Limited, Mumbai and chairman, Regulatory Affairs Committee, IDMA Mumbai
The supply chain of the future will be built around flexibility, responsiveness and reliability. There will be a paradigm shift from a stock-based model to an order-based model, according to the PwC study.
“In the current state, visibility of the post-Carrying & Forwarding Agency supply chain is limited. The reality is the prevalence of a conventional model through the visits of the sales force to stockists or retailers. In addition, it would be based through a review of the monthly stock and sale statements of retailers,” according to observations by E&Y.
However, from a practical stand-point, the pharma industry sees the need to invest in time and money for resource development for supply chain management and the readiness to adopt new technology.