Building Logistics Competencies For India's Pharma Exports
Indian Transport & Logistics News|September - October 2019
Over the last 30 years, India’s pharmaceutical industry has evolved from being almost non-existent to becoming a world leader in the production of high quality generic drugs. At the same time, medical science and medical technology have also advanced leaps and bounds with drugs becoming more sensitive than ever before. To counteract this complexity and create worldwide quality standards, Indian pharma players in tandem with their logistics counterparts are trying to ace cold chain standards by connecting quality with technology.
Surya Kannoth

By 2030, India’s pharmaceutical industry is aiming at doubling its global market share (by value) from the current 3.6 percent to about 7 percent. India’s pharmaceutical exports rose 11 per cent to $19.2 billion in 2018-19, mainly driven by higher demand in regions such as North America and Europe, as per recent data published by the Commerce Ministry. The pharma exports in 2017-18 stood at $17.3 billion and $16.7 billion in the previous fiscal. The country is now looking at tapping uncharted territories like China and Japan, developing technology platforms and next-gen APIs.

As the country gets ready to become a global hub for pharmaceuticals, massive investments are going into cold chain and logistics. On the other hand, pharma companies are seeing massively increased pressures on KPIs and supply chain stability due to changing delivery models and physical and digital threats. The stakes are too high, and there is now absolutely no room for error in the temperature controlled supply chain and logistics. Every stakeholder within the supply chain, both senior and junior, is stepping up its game to deliver patient-centric and cost-effective services.

Historically, the pharmaceutical industry was never a big consumer of cold chain logistics. This was because a majority of drugs did not need to be stored or transported in ambient temperatures. But ever since large molecule biologics and personalised medicines have been introduced, the pharmaceutical supply chain is constantly demanding newer technologies and better products for transportation as these require both temperature and time-controlled distribution.

The market share of biologics, or biopharmaceuticals, is growing rapidly over the globe and is expected to account for up to 28 percent of the global pharmaceutical market by 2020. While traditional drugs are generally stable and have a long shelf life, biologics – such as blood products, vaccines, and therapeutic compounds to treat various conditions – are more sensitive to varying temperatures and other types of exposure. Logistics providers wanting to capture a share of the growing market have already begun increasing their cold chain capacity.

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