DIGITIZATION: A WAY FOR PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY TO WORK CONTACT-LESS & INCREASE EFFICIENCY IN THE TIMES OF THIS PANDEMIC

Digitization is a weapon of humankind against the Covid-19, which originated back in Nov 2019 in China. It is a quite tricky question to ask how digitization helps inefficiency of crisis
management. Does digitization help? Is it a blessing or a curse?

Curse, talking in a sense the lack of knowledge of people about the digital world. Blessing, the digitization of industries in India accelerates work efficiency and saves much time wasted on trivial details.

Back in the days when demonetisation and digitization were criticised. Somehow, we had to adapt to the drastic change to stay safe and survive.

On the contrary, people were claiming lack of knowledge on the digital platform. Now that they are forced to learn as if their life depended on it, which is also true, they cannot make an issue or complain about the hard comings of digital interfaces.

There are different levels at which digitization helps to boost the productivity of any sector. From households to all types of industries including the healthcare & pharma industry.

Healthcare is a salient sector of India, which cannot be simply interfered with but has to be thoroughly researched before making a hasty decision. There is always an argument that never gets old “Google is not a doctor”; However, that statement is accurate. We cannot forego something that has to feed its servers with the exact information that the doctors barely keep in mind. Does how exactly digitization improve the productivity of the healthcare industry? One of the few things is an examination of a remote patient, which is also applied to a COVID-19 infected patient in his preliminary stages. Even the doctors insist that patients who have less serious problems should avoid hospital visits and can opt for remote consultation.

Spending more on a research and development centre exclusively on digitizing medical technology can make a drastic change to the current state of the healthcare industry.

In the Pharmaceutical industry, especially for the sales & marketing department, digitization has been an incredible blessing as it allows them to do the sales and get reports of medical representatives without any physical interaction, making it contact-less working. Else, it is a hassle to report daily with one to one interaction physically risking your life.

However, the usefulness of this not only lies on daily reporting but also on a broader
aspects. The sales team, marketing team & field sales team started handling their work on a digital platform. Medical representatives reporting is being done online with applications like Sefmed: MR Reporting Software also known as sales force automation software. Along with the reporting it comes with other features also which make the work of sales admin and sales team easy without much or any physical interactions & meetings.
Sales force automation of pharma sales force enables the sales admins to perform the core task including planning, scheduling, reporting etc on a single platform.

Digitization surely has given a lot to the pharmaceutical industry to strive and thrive in this pandemic situation.

ADVERSE / INVERSE EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON HEALTHCARE SECTOR – INDIA & WHAT IS IN IT FOR THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

The next case scenario is about the less utilisation of resources; factories could not function to their full potential because of the government’s guidelines of less workers at work space and the shipment of essentials of pharmaceutical factories is being delayed and is becoming a more lengthy process.

The economic sector was claimed to be the most affected as the sales and demand for goods have been going down. The whole economy is rather in a boom or in a depression. Health & care sector is the one which is least affected, it is a mother wit to identify that the pharmaceutical industry has been influenced the most both in a good way and in a bad way.

We have always been judgemental about digitisation in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry. This pandemic has given a whole new spectrum of new paths to get things done. It can lead to a complete reconstruction of the medical field. The various aspects of change that can be recognised and the foremost things that should be implemented by the sector are crisis management, people management and adaptation to change and accept digitisation. 

A few aspects that are already set up in the industry are digital consultation of remote patients; even in the case of covid-19 patients who are at a preliminary stage. On one side, the experts are pressing on the factor that globalisation has been negatively affected. There is a 1/8th decrease in the growth of pharmaceutical companies. On the other hand of this particular argument, another set of specialists claim that this is the most suitable situation to flourish the concept of globalisation throughout the world, and why is it said so? The reason is, following the incident with China, where the country refused to cooperate with research on corona-virus, most of the European and american countries retrieved from trade from China and this has positively affected the trade between the other countries & India, as being a large trader of pharmaceutical goods.

While we talk about the changes after the corona-virus impact, certain things should be taken into consideration while adapting these changes into the industry:

Understanding the situation we are in: that conspicuously pinpoint to a factor that is education, to understand the circumstance to a further advanced level especially for a developing country like India, this is one of the reasons which constrains digitisation the industry, due to the lack of education it might be rather difficult for people to grasp the basic idea of how to handle the digital world. Therefore, a detailed analytical plan should be made to apply this method to the practical world with “No- regret Action” this means to find the trigger points and reenact them to bring out a more effective and useful plan.

With all, these are the positive changes that happened and can happen in the near future. Flipping through the optimistic side of renovation in the industry was pretty easy, but to collect the adverse effect it indeed takes a lot of pain, talking about the fear points, things that should be considered is the “14 days quarantine period” of the employee and less utilisation of the resources.

Further diving deep into the issues we might look at the insight that the pharmaceutical industry will take up and is taking up a lot of burden on paying the quarantined employees which could not be prevented and it is a Hobson’s choice, Since in a developing country like India the layoff would turn into a big issue as the unemployment rate would go drastically upward. 

The next case scenario is about the less utilisation of resources; factories could not function to their full potential because of the government’s guidelines of less workers at work space and the shipment of essentials of pharmaceutical factories is being delayed and is becoming a more lengthy process. 

Besides these issues, another change has happened in the industry that the testing of covid-19 has been spread to the private labs, which is also an extension of privatisation in the country, the catastrophe has opened a new opportunity for people to educate themselves. Digital knowledge has become a need rather than a luxury, it always was, but the world failed to recognise the importance of such features and ignored it for the past decades.

It could not be said that if the pharma industry has been affected more or less. There are always pros and cons of everything that happens. Some pharma companies have gotten suppressed and some are enjoying the perks that have been given up to them because of this Covid-19 situation. This pandemic has made us look at another way of living and take another path & has led us to another era of digitisation. This also proves that during the times’ of crisis mankind becomes more capable and innovative as to escape the dreadful ways of catastrophe that have affected decades. Hopefully, this too shall pass, and a brighter future awaits the world.