Navigating the Pharmaceutical

In the healthcare industry, “Navigating the Pharmaceutical Triumphs for Business Success” is a critical topic encompassing drug innovation, regulatory compliance, market access, pricing strategies, and intellectual property protection. It also involves collaborations, supply chain management, effective marketing, and a patient-centric approach. Global expansion and adapting to technological advances are key considerations for success. In essence, achieving business success in pharmaceuticals requires a holistic approach that combines scientific excellence, regulatory knowledge, business acumen, and a commitment to improving patient outcomes. The 5th Elets Pharma Leadership Summit & Awards featured discussions that emphasized the sector’s growth and evolution, contributing to the emergence of accomplished business leaders.

Sunil Nat, Head of Ecommerce & Digital Strategy at Galderma, mentioned that in the pharmaceutical industry, there was a lack of collaboration, especially in areas that did not involve life-saving drugs. He observed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a willingness to collaborate for vaccine development. However, in other therapy areas and non-life-saving medicines, innovation and collaboration were rare.

He believed that Indian pharmaceutical companies had made their mark on the global stage, not necessarily by creating giants like Pfizer or Moderna but by producing essential medicines. He emphasized that any organization, regardless of its size, should be open to collaborating with other companies to enhance innovation. Sunil believed that this mindset needed to shift from just life-saving drugs to making medicines more affordable for consumers.

Regarding affordability, Sunil acknowledged the growth of the skincare and cosmetic segments in India, where consumers were willing to spend money. He emphasized that along with affordability, quality was crucial. He urged everyone to focus on collaboration and intellectual property protection, mentioning that IP issues were challenging in India due to copycat practices. He shared an example of a drug for acne, which was patented for two years but quickly copied and brought to the market by others. This led to legal battles and financial investments to protect the company’s innovations and maintain quality standards.

Sunil believed that despite the challenges, the pharmaceutical industry in India would strengthen in terms of collaboration, innovation, and IP protection, especially with changing government regulations and a growing focus on affordability.

Dr. Tej Kumar, Head of IPR at BDR Pharmaceuticals International Pvt Ltd, emphasized that intellectual property rights played a pivotal role in driving the company’s success and competitiveness. He discussed the importance of safeguarding intellectual property when entering into collaborations with other companies.

In his role, Dr. Kumar meticulously examined both the company’s intellectual property rights and those of potential collaborators. He recognized that in the pharmaceutical industry, intellectual property often revolved around patents, including product patents and processes. Assessing the strengths of their own intellectual property portfolio and that of potential partners was crucial in determining what information should be disclosed, kept confidential, or shared during collaborations.

Dr. Kumar highlighted that the nature of the collaboration was essential to determine how to safeguard intellectual property rights. Whether the collaboration focused on specific molecules, therapeutic categories, or other aspects influenced the approach to IP protection.

He also noted a changing trend in pharmaceuticals, where certain drugs were transitioning from capsules to tablets. This shift necessitated collaborations with markets more specialized in tablet-based formulations. Dr. Kumar advised looking at the market strategically rather than just in comparison to competitors. Through strategic evaluation, BDR Pharmaceuticals had successfully become the sole company marketing and commercializing a specific drug in India, even surpassing innovators in this regard. Intellectual property protection had played a significant role in achieving this milestone.

Ravikiran N, Business Head of the India & South Asia Region at Natco Pharma, stressed the importance of continuous innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. He drew on his career experience, with two-thirds spent in innovative companies and the remaining third in domestic pharmaceutical commercial organizations, to highlight key insights.

He emphasized that the pharmaceutical industry needed consistent investment in innovation, not only in product development but also in how products were presented and the benefits they offered to patients. He cited Natco Pharma as an example of a company that had prioritized innovation, particularly in oncology, hepatology, cardiology, and diabetes segments, providing world-class medicines at affordable prices.

Ravikiran N also acknowledged the significance of intellectual property protection for innovators. He believed that collaboration was becoming increasingly essential, contrasting the past when such collaborations were rare. He advocated for innovators to collaborate more with Indian companies, sharing technology and products to make medicines more affordable for the Indian population.

Recognizing that a significant portion of India’s healthcare system involved self-paid expenses, Ravikiran N underscored the need for affordable medicines, which could be achieved through innovation by Indian companies and collaboration with innovators to ensure better quality and affordability for medications. He emphasized that this approach was vital, given that a large percentage of Indians still faced challenges in affording healthcare compared to their Western counterparts, and government health policies needed to align with this reality.

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