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Indian Pharma Industry Gets IT Savvy

India is the world's fourth largest producer of pharmaceuticals by volume, accounting for 8% of the global production. With an enormous growth potential, the pharmaceuticals industry is fast realising the benefits of IT to keep pace with the changing business requirements. IPA Convention 2007 held along with one of the largest Pharma event Interphex India 2007 at Mumbai presented an enlightening session on the rising significance of IT for the pharma industry.

Ruediger Dorn, director, Worldwide Life Science Group, Microsoft outlined the critical role of IT to improve the operational efficiency of the pharma industry. A typical pharmaceutical manufacturer faces various challenges related to plant operations like inventory management, WIP reduction, regulatory compliance, consistent product quality maintenance, sharing and retaining knowledge between plants and systems, etc. IT helps in improvising the plant operations by providing the right information to the right people at the right time, which results in better and faster decisions.

Integration of plant systems like production control, manufacturing execution systems (MES) with enterprise applications like ERP is very important in order to achieve seamless information flow across the enterprise, informed Dorn. ISA 95 is an international standard for the integration of enterprise and control systems. Dorn suggested that enterprises can build an effective standard interface between ERP and MES with the use of this standard.

Anil Kumar, global head - Industry Practices, Lion Bridge made a case for profitable growth though IT offshore strategy. Offshoring IT activities can enable pharmaceutical enterprises to concentrate on their core activities of research and business management. However, companies are often concerned about the status of proprietary knowledge (intellectual property) while considering off shoring activity, said Kumar.

Another important topic discussed at the event was the rise of pharmaceutical counterfeit in India. It is not only a financial or business threat but also puts millions of lives at risk. According to a WHO estimate, counterfeit drugs account for 10% of the global pharma market.

Richard Harden, vice-president of training and certification at OTA Training, LLC represented an overview of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and its specific relevance for the pharma industry. Many national regulatory agencies are considering e-pedigree (product recall) laws to control the counterfeiting activites. RFID technology has been identified as one of the best solutions to achieve e-pedigree, as it provides seamless visibility across the supply chain. RFID can provide 100% visibility of inventory no matter where it is in the supply chain, claimed Harden.

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Updated Date: Sep 15, 2007 15:02:30 IST