Month: November 2020

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Update on COVID-19 Treatment around the Globe

 

Demand for repurposed drugs to continue even after launch of COVID-19 vaccines: Experts

Experts says that the demand of repurposed drugs are important to continue even after the COVID 19 vaccines come to the Indian markets. The founder of the Pronto Consult, Dr. Hari Natarajan & Dr. Karishma Shah commented that ‘use of repurposed drugs is likely to be continued until the entire population is vaccinated or there is some other drug that would take care of it’.
https://www.expresspharma.in/covid19-updates/demand-for-repurposed-drugs-to-continue-even-after-launch-of-covid-19-vaccines-experts/

FDA Approves First Treatment for COVID-19

Veklury is the first treatment for COVID-19 to receive FDA approval. Only in a hospital or in a healthcare setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care should Veklury be given.
https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-treatment-covid-19

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Indian Nutra Regulatory Update In Next Normal

 

07th November 2020: Registration is obligatory for all home chefs

One of the pragmatic outcomes of the pandemic was the upsurge of several home chefs across the country. It has recently disclosed that all home chefs are required to have an FSSAI (Food Safety and Standard Authority of India) registration number.

According to the F & B consultant Neeta Bhoopalam, people need not panic and apply for the registration as per the rules. 

There are two types of FSSAI no. that people need to look at manufactured by and marketed by. Those who are preparing food from scrape and peddle need to apply for a ‘manufactured by’ FSSAI numbers. Those who are obtaining materials from someone else and peddling need to have ‘marketed by’ FSSAI numbers. Depending on the number of years one wants to opt for the registration (can be from 1-5 years), the fees for the same, counting the department charges and government fee, range from Rs 1,500 to 5,000.

Neeta further adds that those who have Turnover below Rs 12 lakh per annum need to have a state license and central license for those above 2 lakh turnover per annum.

https://retail.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/food-entertainment/food-services/decoding-fssai-registration-that-is-now-mandatory-for-home-chefs/79102204

 

19th October 2020: FSSAI is now all set to extend FoSCoS to the entire country with effect from 1st November 2020.

It is an online FLRS (Food Licensing and Registration System) since 2011 and is the licensing ecosystem’s soul. While over 40 lakh licenses/ registrants are actively transacting, 70 lakh licenses/registration have been issued to date and operational in all states.

A cloud-based, upgraded new food safety compliance FSSAI has launched an online platform called FoSCoS (URL-https://foodlicensing.fssai.gov.in), which will replace the existing FLRS (URL-https://foodlicensing.fssai.gov.in).

FoSCoS is externalized to bestow one point stop for all espousal of a food business operator (FBO) with the department for any regulatory compliance transaction.

https://retail.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/fssais-new-food-safety-compliance-platform-to-become-operational-across-india-from-nov/78748248

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Malnutrition, the Silent Pandemic

Experiences from previous pandemics have shown that, when such outbreaks evolve, there is an urgent need to expand public health activities beyond urgent clinical management. Also, the 2020 pandemic ‘COVID-19 outbreak’ is not an exception!

This pandemic has brought a new set of challenges for the individual to maintain a healthy mind and
body. In the starting phase, many of the countries have announced lockdown around the globe.
Citizens were asked to stay at home for the community spread of virus. These measures of social
distancing have severe repercussions on both Physical as well as Mental well-being.

If we look at physical health, the food and health nutrients supply chain was hampered due to
insufficient transportation. Even, the confinement to home has directly affected one’s physically
working patterns and eating habits. For working class people, adapting to ‘Work from Home’ norms
brought very low energy expenditure.

Even COVID-19 has implications on mental health. It has been seen, fear and anxiety about this
pandemic has changed diet pattern around the globe. Compelling evidence showed that dietary
habits are affected by conditions of stress, distress, and emotional disturbance, whereby elevated
distress levels are associated with unhealthy dietary patterns and poor quality of the diet.

Malnutrition: The silent pandemic in India
Global Hunger Index has shown India is a home for about 30% of world’s stunted children and 50%
of severely wasted children. In addition to this, other factors like anaemia and obesity are increasing
burden on hidden huger.
The recent pandemic has brought serious threats to nutritional rights of malnourished individuals.
The lockdown has disrupted access to essential services including mid-day meals, vaccinations and
also supply of health supplements to the needy.

Mitigating COVID-19 impact:
To fight against upcoming pandemic of Malnutrition, one needs to tackle of four levels; individual,
community, national and global.

Individual stance:
At individual level, the responsibility lies in making an effort to choose a healthy lifestyle with right
diet and exercise.

Community stance:
At community level, people should avoid stock buying. Those who can afford can stock extra food or
other essential materials, which increases stress on supply chain. Therefore, at a community level, it
is crucial to spread awareness against ‘Panic-buy’.

Image 1: Mitigating COVID-19 impact

National Stance:
All nations around the globe are experiencing burden on healthcare services so national economy as
well. To avoid the shortage of essential services including foods and medicines, government should
invest in planning of resources, formulation of policies to support the production and distribution.
Even the public private partnership has become imperative to build etweorks with private sector,
the international agencies, and local communities. Even as social level, running public awareness
campaigns, nutrition education, emergency news bulletins, radio and TV announcements can create
awareness.

Global Stance:
COVID-19 has shown a global threat requires global action. There is a need to work together and
coordination among countries to ensure supply of essential goods and medicines and making sure
that humanity emerges from this pandemic with the least possible losses.
In nutshell, when entire world is engaged in vaccine research, the influence of this pandemic on
nutrition and dietary intake has already gone beyond the individual and the community to reach
national and global levels. The main aim should be to maintain the physical and mental well-being
individuals with resilience of communities, and national and global food security.

Sources:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41430-020-0634-3
https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/malnutrition-the-silent-pandemic-6610858/

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Post COVID-19 era in Pharmaceutical Industry

A whole new challenge has been posed by Coronavirus; the industry is at a standing start in terms of a vaccine and needs to prepare more efficiently than ever, against particular constraints and obstacles. The capacity of the industry to articulate the innovations, challenges and opportunities it poses in multiple languages is almost as difficult as developing a vaccine itself. Yet pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find how they can partner successfully with each other and continue to create market momentum well into the future, as well as educating the media and public about how viable a vaccine is and when it may be available.

The pharmaceutical industry landscape looks very different than how it did at the beginning of the year, whether it is postponed conferences, simulated gatherings, distribution reps unable to visit their clients, or analysts needing to focus on tech to communicate with their team and other associations and institutes. Pharmaceutical firms are adapting to the rapid changes that emerge from changes in supply chains and the need to adapt business procedures during these extraordinary times.
Healthcare services have experienced convulsive changes and are now undergoing them. Let me focus on how the pharmaceutical industry has evolved and will evolve.

  • Research & Development:
    Projects such as the EU-EFPIA public-private alliance with the IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) have paved the foundations for what we are seeing now: the old business model of the industry is being changed. Where there was once a cut-throat struggle to find, create and sell drugs, former competitors, such as vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, who have joined forces to develop a safe and efficient coronavirus vaccine partnering through IMI ventures in this current scenario. This extraordinary focus on teamwork and cooperation goes straight around the board. From exchanging databases of validated therapies with researchers and others and seeing if the worst consequences of the current coronavirus can be mitigated, to having access to expertise, research results, development capacities and embracing risk sharing with the public sector.
  • Clinical Trials & Regulations:
    The focus must change to decentralized / near-patient / site-less-trials on sites and investigators. We need patients not only to stop attending hospitals where they may be infected or where they “steal” services from those in need, we really need to catapult to a paradigm focused on demographic data to classify and attract patients. Recruitment may no longer rely on the capacity of doctors to remember and locate qualifying patients. There is a chance to change health science, then. Similarly, in an outbreak situation and when businesses have to collaborate on master protocols and platform trial designs, this pandemic will force a new approach to vaccine trials.
  • Supply Chain & Resources:
    In the current situation, the Government of India should take crucial measures to eliminate the technological and financial obstacles that will spur the pharmaceutical industry to increase the production of APIs, thus reducing the pharmaceutical industry as a whole’s reliance on the Chinese market, which is heavily affected. Recently, the Indian government has taken applaudable measures by introducing an incentive package of 13.76 billion Indian Rupees (approximately $181 million) to encourage domestic production of essential starting materials, drug intermediates, APIs & medical devices.
  • Shift to consumer centric:
    In this covid 19 scenario, consumer has become very sensitive to information. There is a need to serve the demand of information through digital tools. The increased use of digital technologies, telehealth, and app-based environments makes patient-level data more available. Hence, it important that patient-centered supply chains should understand how this need can be met. Major improvements in telemedicine, video conferencing, remote-working software, and clinical-decision-support tools have helped doctors to cope up with the fast spaced transformed evolution in the field of medical technology. Increased supply chain transparency and information will be required by consumers and patients, and this transition to telehealth and app-based environments will require a tech-enabled distribution model.

Therefore, we can say that the COVID-19 pandemic is transforming the nature of world order and control, forcing leaders around the world to rethink their strategies for business and development. India certainly stands to benefit from such a restructuring with its deep expertise in the manufacturing of medicines, highly trained scientists and technological advancement.

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The “Next Normal” of Indian Nutraceutical Industry

The “Next Normal” of Indian Nutraceutical Industry

Indian Nutraceutical market is about to reach USD 10 Bn, which is 2% of Global Nutraceutical market pegged at USD 388 Bn. Even with such a small percentage, the Domestic market is poised to witness a substantial growth when consumer is moving towards pathy-agnostic attitude and increasing demand of preventive medicines. This shift will stimulate the demand for nutraceuticals containing products in near future.

The pandemic has also been the foundation stone and there has been a positive impact of COVID-19 on this industry. The Nutrition Business Journal 2020 predicted the sales of immunity supplements will spike over 25% in 2020 from 8.5% growth of 2019. 

Although Indian Nutraceuticals finds its root in Ayurveda, it has not been leveraged its potential in this marketplace.

India, to be a Nutraceutical hub and to explore the opportunities for expansion, the promise should be made with science based products, end-to-end supply chain capability and reformations in regulations.

Consumer Demand:

In India 150 mn people are consuming various Nutraceutical products. Pandemic situation has brought more focus and acceptance towards Nutraceuticals. The “next normal” way of living with preventive medicines will be one of the driving factors which will accelerate a growth rate up to 30%-50% higher than pre-pandemic times.

Regulatory Reforms:

The pandemic is also the foundation stone of the start of regulatory reforms in terms of responsible nutrition, bursting invalid claims as well as bringing up awareness by conducting training programs like FoSTaC (Food Safety Training and Certification). FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) now is non-negotiable terms on clinical evaluation of products, safety, efficacy and compliance with RDA.

Digital Transformation:

India being a youthful nation always attracted many marketeers. Likewise one of the lucrative markets is “e-Commerce”. From ordering e-pharmacies to having affinity towards digital entertainment platforms like Netflix, Indian population has always shown higher acceptance towards makeover with Digital solutions. And “e-Commerce in Nutra Space” is also not an exception. Pandemic has changed the market dynamics completely. e-Commerce has seen multi-fold surge. Yet, “Products with Trust” remains an issue with spurious brands.

Ensuring Supply Chain:

India to be a Nutraceuticals hub should ensure end-to-end supply chain capability. It is possible only when Pharma – Nutrition scenario gets built up. Automatically, the supply chain issue gets transformed and smooth supplies would flow.

With existing knowledge and available resources, existing players will have to expand via backward or forward integration. Increasing the raw material output by expanding cropping region, continuous availability of labour, adopting technology and being innovative will together develop an integrated model that will make Indian Nutraceutical industry grow.

Technology Convergence:

Adoption of newer technologies such as “Block-chain” will enable tracking the journey of ingredient/formulation from “farm to capsule”. This will ensure timely delivery of product and sufficiency of active ingredients. Even few of the AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools can be used to create an awareness to find out deficiencies in micro-nutrients.

Towards a Brighter Future:

Correlation between health and nutrition was a breakthrough for Nutraceutical industry. This science has given an impetus to the belief that it can provide preventive measures and reduce the risk associated with certain diseases.

With the evidence based approach Nutraceutical stakeholders are acquiring new scientific ways to educate consumers by sharing detailed information about the product and its benefits. Also, with newer technology, industry players are working towards improving quality standards of the product, enhancing transparency and giving competitive pricing.

In terms of Indian Nutraceutical regulations, if we can match with International standards then foreign investment and entry of new players will double the valuation in multi-folds.

Thus, with trust in products, Nutraceuticals are set to become a common part of Indian households in the near future!

Source:

  1. Nutraceuticals in India: A game changing opportunity in the healthcare and food industry.
  2. Nutraceuticals: From Alternative to Mainstream.
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Pharma-Nutra Panels

Pharma-Nutra Panels

 

Panel 1: Reimagining India- Think Nutra-Think india

Nutrify India is a platform, tries to help innovators connect with companies with larger market access or investors wanting to invest directly for commercialization from innovator. It is an initiative to empower responsible nutrition business and Shape the growth of the Indian Nutritional Industry.

Below is the e-panel organised by Nutrify India on REIMAGINING INDIA- THINK NUTRA-THINK INDIA with Industry leaders and government leaders on how to enable India as a leader in Nutraceuticals. Being associated with Nutrify India, Dr. Smarta-Managing Director of Interlink moderated this panel. You can watch the full panel at:

 

Panel 2: Trends And Prospects For Plant-Based Supplements And Extractions
Fi India and Hi is the largest platform in the country for brands to showcase the latest trends and upcoming innovations of the food industry. In this panel discussion from the virtual expo, experts from the field discussed TRENDS AND PROSPECTS FOR PLANT-BASED SUPPLEMENTS AND EXTRACTIONS in the industry. These innovations could possibly be integral to the food industry in the near future. Being associated with Fi Hi India, Dr. Smarta-Managing Director of Interlink moderated this panel.

 

  Panel 3: Dietary Dilemma In Diabetes
Health Foods and Dietary Supplements Association (HADSA) organised panel discussion on “DIETARY DILEMMA IN DIABETES”. Being a Vice President of HADSA, Dr. Smarta-Managing Director of Interlink has moderated this panel.

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Financial Perspective Beyond COVID-19

In this pandemic period, managing cash flow and strategizing growth factors is crucial. Here are few tips that I learnt from my experience and can help you in addressing covid19 financial issues.

Managing cash flow: The corporate world is in the grip of panic mode in the wake of deadly COVID19 outbreak and it has hampered the functioning of several sectors, including pharmaceuticals. Faced with uncertainty around when the pandemic will end, the pace of recovery is expected to be a long and painful one. This pandemic has made the entire world realize the need to reimagine their supply chains. The union government has already announced investments to incentivize production of APIs in India with a clarion call for “Atmanirbhar Bharat”. The rapidly spreading Corona virus has compelled companies to re-strategize their methodology of work by adopting innovative methods to keep the business going effectively and profitably.

The normal business jargon “cash is king” is just correct in the current scenario. Management of cash flow is the essence for company survival in this liquidity crisis time and the strategies are:

  • Prioritise crucial payments such as salaries and contractual obligations and avoid statutory defaults and penalties.
  • Focus on the cash-to-cash conversion cycle.
  • Review debt retirement schedule and covenants.
  • Incentivise debtors by offering discounts for earlier settlement of receivables.
  • Revisit variable costs.
  • Revisit capital investment plans and ensure your internal earnings are adequate to finance the CAPEX.
  • Focus on inventory management.
  • Review Forex exposure.
  • Ensure that there is a robust review process of calculating financial loss due to supply chain risks.
  • Ensure statutory dues and taxes payables are adhered to.
  • Periodically checking the feasibility of the business model.
  • Plan policies for next 3 months/ 9 months/ 18 months.

If we consider it as a 3-month problem, an instant halt on variable expenditures like hiring, marketing, travel, etc. can help. However, if the crisis continues for more than 9 months, company will have to reconfigure its business strategy to reduce the variable expenses, renegotiate fixed expenses (rent, salaries, equipment lease payments, etc.), and focus only on the crucial essentials for survival. It may be a good idea to revisit sales strategy – selling online versus in-person. Some serious reconsiderations would be required if the effect of the pandemic continues for 18 months or beyond. Businesses will need to strategize, communicate, and act with compassion. They would require a revision of sales revenue goals and product timelines along with a new operating plan.

Management will have to keep the communication transparent as much as possible with its investors and employees.
Few tips to stay connected and afloat during the shutdown:

1. Communicate transparently with your customers: Customers can empathize with companies facing a crisis, as long as the communication is transparent. Communicate with customers to understand their perception of the product/solution offered by you.

2. Maintaining healthy relationship with contracted parties: It would be helpful to give your vendors, suppliers, landlords’ etc. sufficient notice in case there is going to be any delay in payments so that they can also be prepared and there is no bitterness in this already difficult time.

3. Managing employees & related optimization: For large companies considering layoffs, the primary option should be to cut the salaries of the higher paid exec/employees and to retain people who can’t afford to lose their jobs.

4. Keep your team engaged: The team relies on the team leader to keep them updated about every development and it is the responsibility of the Team Leader to keep the team members engaged and stay connected with them through video conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts. It is very important to maintain high spirits within the team and understand the general mood within your remote workforce.

5. Communication to stakeholders: The Leader to have an honest conversation on the situation and its impact on your business with the entire leadership team. Any negative message should be delivered with utmost empathy along with transparent reasons. Entire world is coping up to this challenge so why can’t we? Let’s address impact of covid19 positively by applying our basic principles and execution by new digital ways. Stay safe!

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