Pain Point to Gaining Brownie Points: Technology is a Game Changer for Indian Pharma Sector
Gauri Angrish
Founder & CEO

The Indian pharmaceutical industry has come a long way from traditional home-made herbal medicines to being the manufacturer of world class life -saving drugs. However, at the helm of game-changing innovations steering this industry to a whole new level is the implementation of technology.

While providing proper healthcare facilities to the masses in a diverse country like India is a daunting task, it is heartening to note that in spite of challenges, the Indian healthcare industry is constantly moving ahead neck-to-neck alongside the pharmaceutical industry and other allied industries. To support the healthcare needs of a country that has over a billion people, and in helping it realize the vision of universal access to healthcare, the pharma sector forms a major part of the ecosystem.

India has become a crucial destination for manufacture and export of both branded and generic medicines. The Indian pharmaceutical market is projected to cross USD 100 billion by 2025, hence emerging as one of the largest pharmaceutical markets globally. Over the years, the pharma industry in our country has been changing and evolving; but in recent years, with unprecedented thrust on technological advancements and innovation, the pharma sector is growing in a fast track mode.

Overview of Current Challenges of Pharmaceutical Industry in India

High Out of Pocket (OOP) expenditure is one of the challenges faced today by the pharma industry or healthcare at large, limiting access to medicines for patients. However, with innovative pharmaceutical products being patented in India, and external pressure from governments and public bodies, the "affordability burden" for this sector is expected to reduce in the near future.

more than 50% of people on regular medication do not adhere to their medication. Prescribing medicines to patients is one thing and making sure patients actually take them is another. According to standard data, medication non adherence rates can typically range from 30 to 60 percent. Almost 20 to 80 percent of patients make errors in taking proper medication and about 20 to 60 percent stop taking medications when symptoms disappear. What makes the problem of nonadherence even worse is that more than 68 percent patients do not communicate their non-adherence to their doctors or caregivers. While this silent epidemic of medical nonadherence needs to be acknowledged and addressed, other major issues we already know about plaguing the industry for a long time include counterfeit medicines, lack of strong IP regulations, and the fragmented structure of the market leading to volatility or non-certainty.

Decoding the Benefits of Tech for the Pharma Industry

The recent wave of technological advancements and research, introducing artificial intelligence to cloud computing, is changing the face of pharma industry. The internet has changed how business operates completely. Today, from online e-commerce platforms selling drugs to online portal on drug information, internet has created empowered patients and/or stakeholders for the pharma sector.

With mobile technology on the rise, sophisticated apps are being developed for disease monitoring, medication adherence support and even health education. Electronic prescribing (EP) systems not only automate prescribing , but also the supply and administration of medicines from small care unit to hospitals.

At Caredose, for instance, we make use of proprietary tech to track medicine adherence in patients, whilst building big data for healthcare entities and public health programs. We are enabling healthcare entities to manage, track & optimise patient care. This is achieved by partnering up with them and equipping them to track complete medicine adherence in their patients, in real-time. On the other hand, our service is useful for any individual on regular medication. With multi-dose dispensers, timely dose reminders, and automated refills, we go every step to make sure patients take the right medicine at the right time.

Digitization is a boon that not only streamlined the documentation processes but has helped in enhanced record keeping and better security, as well as enhanced safety by eliminating human errors. With automation taking the load of pharmacists, personalized care for every patient no longer remains a distant dream.

The Road Ahead

This is just the beginning. Technology will perhaps complete change the face of the pharmaceutical industry in the coming decade. Some of the possible scenarios can be the change of pharmacy from drug distribution machines to health consultancies, personalized therapies for patients, and printing out drugs on demand using 3-D printing. Let technology solve the limitation and challenges of the pharma industry today for a healthier India tomorrow.