GS1 India & AHPI release report on the state of healthcare supply chain

The findings and recommendations of the study were released as a report titled “Building resilience in India’s post covid healthcare supply chain"

Image- Deepak Sharma, CEO, Kanvic; Dilip Chenoy, EX Vice President, GS1 INDIA; S Swaminathan, CEO, GS1 INDIA;, Dr. Srikar Reddy, Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce; and Dr. Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD & CEO, Fortis.
New Delhi: GS1 India, a global supply chain standards organization, and Association of Healthcare Providers (India) have conducted a comprehensive study on the healthcare supply chain in India. The findings and recommendations of the study were released as a report titled “Building resilience in India’s post covid healthcare supply chain.
The report was released by Dr. Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD and CEO, Fortis Healthcare.
Healthcare sector has been at the centre of COVID crisis. The challenges were numerous, beginning with managing multitude of patients affected, to managing the supply chain disruptions. In the midst of it all, the sector had to continuously innovate and come out with new ways of taking care of patients. Supply Chain disruptions during the pandemic led to drug and device shortage, which had a severe impact on the patients. This, coupled with reported fake and spurious medical products entering the supply chain, made the task of the stakeholders involved all the more challenging.
Sharing his thoughts on a similar line, Dr. Ashutosh Raghuvanshi said in the event, “As far as healthcare is concerned, the role of standardization in GS1 standards is going to play a very vital and important role.  Healthcare is all about outcomes. It is an industry, it also has financial implications, but what’s the most important are the health outcomes. And the health outcomes are dependent a lot on how the care is delivered. One of the biggest problems in health care is errors and that is something which can be resolved very easily by having this standardized nomenclature and product information.”
GS1 India, in joint collaboration with Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI), undertook a comprehensive study of the existing supply chain ecosystem of Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Manufacturers, the challenges faced and their impact on the other stakeholders in the Healthcare supply chain viz Hospitals, Retail and Online Pharmacies. The study also explored how global regulatory mandates have played a key role in Indian manufacturers implementing a track and trace system for exports and how the learnings can be applied in the domestic market supplies. The study was based on personal interviews and surveys of various stakeholders in the industry.
Findings of the Study
The main findings of the study are as given below:
  1. In the current scenario, over 80% of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Manufacturers do not have product visibility till point of care
  2. Best-in-class pharma companies globally have inventory period of 64 days as compared to Indian counterparts having 98 days, leading to inefficient inventory management and adding to the inventory holding costs, driving the product prices upwards.
  3. The overall supply chain, logistics and warehousing costs in India are 15% higher compared to other countries.
  4. More than 50% of Pharma and medical devices manufacturers lose 1% of their sales due to expiry and pilferage.
  5. Nearly 69% of survey respondents (Pharma and Medical Devices Manufacturers) do not have the capability to implement product recall beyond the distributor due to lack of end to end visibility.
Way forward presented in the report includes making the Healthcare supply chain resilient which will require end-to-end supply chain visibility through digitalization and use of global standards which facilitate interoperability. All the stakeholders including the government, the regulators and the industry need to work together to build a resilient healthcare supply chain.
The report provides a roadmap for healthcare industry which will help in bringing in greater efficiency and resilience in the supply chain as well as reduce the costs. Implementing the recommendations of the report will greatly benefit the healthcare sector as it moves into a post COVID era.