During the last two decades, India has emerged as a leading player in clinical trials, manufacturing and R&D of pharmaceuticals. Today, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is growing rapidly and ranks third in the world by volume sales (14th by value) amounting to US $20 billion with forecasters suggesting this will double well before the end of this decade. Unfortunately, one aspect of the industry continues to fail – logistics.
According to a report published in the International Journal of Logistics Economics and Globalisation, poor infrastructure, long lead times, multi-layered routes to market because of different state tax systems, and bureaucracy are a blight on this growing industry.
Sandeep Puri and Jayanthi Ranjan of the Institute of Management Technology, in Raj Nagar, India, have looked at emerging business and technological trends in this sector and suggest that there are innovative logistics solutions to many of the infrastructure and other problems India faces. It is increasingly important that such issues are addressed as the nation develops and demand for pharmaceuticals rises particularly given the issues of product degradation when stored and transported in unsuitable – commonly high temperature – conditions. The researchers point out that pharmaceutical products are commonly handled as if they were inert materials not destined for medicine cabinets and patients.
The team also points out that product adulteration, supply-chain corruption and document falsification are rife. Fundamentally, such issues are made easier because of the intrinsic problems of inadequate infrastructure. “Coping with the challenges of streamlining the logistics in India will ultimately benefit the patient and the healthcare industry,” the team says.