Home / News / India /  Bulk of pharma, medical devices makers do not have product visibility till point of care

NEW DELHI: Over 80% of domestic pharmaceutical companies and medical devices manufacturers do not have product visibility till point of care, as per a study released by GS1 India and Association of Healthcare Providers on the state of healthcare supply chain in India.

The study titled “Building resilience in India’s post covid healthcare supply chain" discusses challenges of pharmaceutical and medical devices supply chain-- counterfeit medicines and devices, pilferage, wastage, medication errors and lack of timely availability--putting patient safety at risk. Drug counterfeiting has become a problem of a significant magnitude globally.

The study mentions more than half of the companies in the industry lose 1% of their sales due to expiry and pilferage. Substandard, Spurious, Falsely Labelled, Falsified and Counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products are often designed to appear genuine and unidentifiable from authentic medical products. Their growth was previously a menace, but it has only escalated manifold with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supply chain, logistics and warehousing costs in India are 15% higher compared to other countries, and best-in-class pharma companies globally have an inventory period of 64 days as compared to Indian counterparts having 98 days, it said.

Nearly 69% of survey respondents comprising pharma and medical devices manufacturers do not have the capability to implement product recall beyond the distributor due to lack of end-to-end visibility.

“As far as healthcare is concerned, the role of standardization in GS1 standards is going to play a very vital and important role. Healthcare is all about outcomes. It is an industry, it also has financial implications, but what’s the most important are the health outcomes. And the health outcomes are dependent a lot on how the care is delivered…," said Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD and CEO, Fortis Healthcare.

The healthcare industry has been at the centre of COVID crisis. The challenges were numerous, beginning with managing multitude of patients affected, to managing the supply chain disruptions.

“One of the other important elements in healthcare is traceability. The traceability of implants, medication etc is extremely important and that is something which has to be done long term. If that is integrated into the digital systems of healthcare delivery systems, that would go a long way to improve the outcomes and also making healthcare safer," Raghuvanshi said.

Priyanka Sharma
Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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