Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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It’s no secret that the Pharma and BioTech industries are currently amongst the most innovative industries given all the advancements in the shortest possible time to address the grow population, human abuse of our planet and there by the changing organisms.

Despite this, the industry has been a slow adopter of new age digital technology. While there is good progress in pockets – be it deployments of chatbots for patient interactions or even the digital pill but this is not consistent across the enterprise. There is a reason for the industry taking a cautious approach which are primarily driven by three aspects. One, and most importantly, the strict regulatory requirements and adherences which hold the industry back a bit. Mindset here is understandable – why change what is already working well.

Second, is an urgent need for education at the leadership level around the impact (to revenue, profitability, EPS and ability to create new products and experiences) that digital can enable the enterprise to drive.

Third, is a focus on change management. This one is almost an extension on the second point above. There is need to ensure that business leaders collaborate strongly with their IT colleagues to lead and drive these initiatives and help deliver tangible business value to the enterprise.

Digital along with artificial intelligence is well positioned to be leveraged across the enterprise – be it in enabling R&D, Manufacturing operations, streamline supply chain, logistics, retail. Some examples being creating new and more effective product development. Digital and AI can arrive at the best molecular mix (based on several parameters and historic data) to create the most effective medicine to treat a disease. A good example is how soon a potential vaccine to tackle the current pandemic was developed. Another example is how the current vaccine distribution would need a very efficient supply chain and logistics to ensure timely and secure delivery of the vaccine across the globe.

For a vast country like India, it is therefore imperative for us to adopt digital across the board sooner than later. We are the pharmacy of the world, but if we are to stay relevant and keep our tag, we would need our industry to innovate at pace consistently across the board as above. The current government has taken several initiatives in the right direction but more needs to be done urgently in partnership with the industry.

In summary, the digital revolution is upon us – be it the Pharma/BioTech industry or otherwise. Digital is not a silver bullet to solve world hunger but it surely is an enabling wand. Those that recognise the power of this technology and leverage the same sooner than later will be able to stay relevant and thrive in the dynamic marketplace.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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