How Pandemic Forcing Pharma Industry to Innovate

medical shop

Pharma industry is major industry which caters to the basic public health. It is one of the most sustainable business. 
 
However, Healthcare infrastructure in India was challenged and exposed due to the limited supply for essential  medicines, hospital beds with oxygen,  oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators which has resulted in loss of important lives 
 
So this pandemic has caused pharma industry to innovate to make Healthcare available to all the citizens at a reasonable rate 
 
1. Oxygen on the move – to cater to the demand of the people for oxygen and vaccines cylinders during COVID mere hospitals and big medical stores are not enough, hence companies have started on the move vehicles for oxygen supply and the vaccines in certain areas to cater to the demand of the people in that area. 
 
2. Strong distribution network – Since in majority of the cities there is very limited oxygen plants. Delhi being one of them. Hence government and private players have created green corridors where the oxygen tanks are being delivered by trains from the cities with abundant supply. The oxygen cylinders have been also airlifted from other countries. 

  1. Oxygen manufacturing plants – the dearth of oxygen plants in the major cities have exposed the healthcare infrastructure of these cities. Hence the Government has introduced schemes where the MSMEs can start these businesses at a very low rate of interest. This is the best opportunity for the startups to innovate and avail the benefit provided by the government. They can also take benefits of MSME loan from bank or NBFCs. 
  1.  Bringing in life-saving vaccine –  Other firms in the foreign countries such as US biotech developed their own vaccine, Sputnik -V vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamalaya National Research Institute of Epidemology and Microbiology, similarly Indian firms like Serum Institute of India in collaboration with Astra Zeneca and Oxford University developed Covishield and Bharat Biotech developed Covaxin. It is a welcome change that Indian companies together with International companies are developing life-saving vaccines, More of these collaborations is required to fulfill the vaccine requirement of 1.3 billion Indians. Zydus Cadilla is also in the process of developing vaccines for kids and teenagers. Clinical trials for the vaccination are underway. 
  1. Digital transformation –  Lot of the pharma companies have started B2C online sites so that the medicines and the medicine supplies can be delivered in their homes. For OTC medicines no doctor prescriptions are required but for important medicines and drugs the users can easily upload the doctor prescriptions and the medicines are delivered within 2 days. Some of these online pharmacists are pharmeasy, 1 mg, medilife, etc.are delivering medicines on time. 
  1. Research and development – India spends less than one percent of its GDP on research and development, which is much lower than most global countries equivalent to India. In addition, investors in India prefer products based on predictable, tested business models and old tried technologies, where they are assured of profits and returns. On the other hand, investors are generally indifferent to business models that are genuinely new, claiming to be the first of their kind and not being tried in the market as a result. It is because of the fact that innovation is a risk, an inherent element, which is not motivating in any way for Indians. As a result, you will not see people in India investing venture funds in real innovation. 
  1. Push the growth of Biotech startups – Biotech start-ups used to not appear in the list of investors. But now,  the government in India is basically playing the role of providing venture funds for the biotech industry. The government has come forward to provide seed capital and risk capital to biotech start-ups. It is providing funding to take these  ‘business idea’  forward to a proof-of-concept stage.But at the stage of ‘proof-of-concept’ and beyond, where venture funds are provided, no one from the private sector is ready to come forward. As a result, many effective startups carrying out new research are unable to move forward. Venture capital funds are also not comfortable with investing in innovation in India, as they do not see an attractive exit route for themselves. 

In the information-led economy of the current era, innovation in the Pharma is the most important factor to stimulate progress and development. Unless we think about the monetization of new concepts and new ideas by rekindling the entrepreneurial spirit, our ability to make every Indian healthy will just be a dream. Without capital, even the most transformative ideas can collapse before the first flight takes place. NBFC like Ziploan is offering business loan up to Rs. 7.5 lakh to the pharma industry to rise up again.

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