“The pandemic has taught us a lot of lessons and one major thing that emerges is that digital is an idea whose time has come and you need to digitise; you need to take advantage of it, otherwise, you will be left behind. You know earlier there was a phrase which was coined that either you perform or you perish. Especially, in the pharma industry, where there is a lot of competition, though the pie is very big, but competition is huge. So, today if you do not catch on the bus of digitisation, then I think you have to be prepared to diminish your sales, profits, activities and everything,” said Daara Patel, Secretary-General, Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA) at the inaugural session of the Elets Pharma Leadership Summit held on 29 -30 April 2021, with the theme ‘Embracing Digitalisation in Pharma: Adopting the New Normal’.
Sharing his experience of lockdown, Patel said, “Let me just briefly tell you how we got over the last pandemic. There was a total lockdown and we were caught unaware. So, it took us a lot of time to make the authorities understand what is important and how pharma is essential. When they just allowed the pharmaceutical industry to get out and perform and people are allowed to travel at the same time, the ancillary industry was in trouble because the authorities never understood that they are equally important. So, we have to again explain to them that the corrugated boxes, bottles and the foil, raw material, transport and loaders are equally important. So, with great difficulty, but in close interaction with the government various ministries like our own ministry – the Department of Pharma, and DGCI, local FDAs, police authorities and the entire office of the DGCI, we were able to perform.”
He added, “I am really glad to inform you that as of end-March last year to early April, the production capacity utilisation was just 20-30% but with this type of close interaction, not only the industry and government but the associations worked very closely and we brought it up to the level of 60-70% by April-end mid-May and from mid-May to May-end and early June, it was almost 100%.” Patel was delivering the Special Guest Address at the two-day virtual summit. Other personalities who were on the screen at the inaugural session Manish Manakchand, Commercial Director, IDBS; Dr Ravi Gupta, Founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief; and Kartik Sharma, Managing Editor, Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd