Month: December 2020

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COVID-19 has changed the e-pharmacy market

Recently, two large mergers have been observed by Indian online pharmacy, which has not seen any substantial action for long due to the absence of proper regulations. 

 A majority stake in Chennai-based e-pharmacy Netmeds was picked up by Reliance Retail, while PharmEasy is integrating with Medlife. Drug distribution services on its website were also revealed by e-commerce firm Amazon. So the question is: has the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak affected the nation’s online pharmacy space? A study by The Indian Express highlighted that COVID-19 and a corresponding behavioural change in e-commerce have allowed or catalysed growth for online pharmacies, if not entirely. It affirmed, however, that the sector was still projected to rise sevenfold to $2.7 billion by 2023.

According to the study, this is partly attributed to the difficulties encountered by traditional pharmacies, giving their online equivalents more impetus. The study, citing experts, highlighted that e-pharmacies are expected to solve problems that conventional pharmacies might not be able to solve and a large-scale online pharmacy space is needed for this, which in turn requires tremendous investment or consolidation.

With over 8 lakh pharmacies and online set-ups, the pharmacy industry is fragmented in India. The study claimed that they both operate on three major business models, including the marketplace, franchise-led hybrid (offline/online) and inventory-led hybrid (offline/online).

However, because of no established regulations agreed by the government, many investments in the online space have been kept at bay until now. It should be remembered that, because e-pharmacies have not been restricted so far, brick and mortar chemists are vying for their operations. The proposed guidelines for e-pharmacies have been set in effect and are intended to describe, among other aspects, internet purchases, the definition of e-prescription and licensing for online businesses. It is also planned to propose how drugs can also be delivered, marketed, and stocked by e-pharmacies.

Therefore, E – pharmacies are bound to play a vital role in the future with the bulk of these patients who, without going to the clinic any time they need a prescription for their medications, will have a strong appetite for quick access to their therapeutics. Experts suggest that, owing to degrading environmental factors and unhealthy habits and diets of Indians, the figure is bound to show a multifold rise in coming years. With the growth of digital literacy in India, it is obvious that prospects are at their height in the e-commerce sector. In addition, the linking of brick and mortar stores with online portals could assist in the joint development of both online and offline pharmacies, thereby giving India’s healthcare sector much-needed improvement.

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Crucial Immune Boosters in Indian System

The recent outbreak of COVID has changed people’s behaviour in many ways, which has even affected the growth of the various market in the right way; being the largest exporter, consumer, and producer of spices, India accounts for half of the global trading in this sector.

Industries such as pharmaceuticals, indigenous alternative medicine, cosmetics, resin, and natural colour use spices in a considerable amount. Any interference in the domestic and global supply chain throws an adverse impact on the supply and production of vital industries and workers involved in spices’ processing and output.

Growth of Immune Boosting Spices during the Pandemic:

Customers across the globe are showing a massive interest in building their immunity and safeguarding their health. India, known as the king of spices, has a vast history of trading with China and Rome’s ancient civilization. The people in large amount has started using the zest with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties like never to prevent the infection. Some spices double in rate, and many of the herbs have gone out of stock. Since the virus outbreak, there is an increase in the sale of black pepper, garlic, dry ginger, and turmeric.

Export Trend Moves Up:

The observation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has shown that there is increasing use of spice in the world after the outbreak of a pandemic, which gave a massive rise in exports of Indian spices, by 23 % in dollar terms and 34% in rupee terms in June this year 2020, report by ASSOCHAM. It was found that chilies were the most exported zest from India in the fiscal year, 2020. With an anticipated volume of over 484 thousand metric tonnes. Cumin followed while turmeric ranked third.

Since May 2020, there is a surge in export and the resumption of cardamom e-auction, which has facilitated better price realization by the cardamom growers. The growing trend in exports in the auction prices rose by Rs 600, Touching an average of Rs 1615 per Kg. Around 100 tonnes of cardamom valued at Rs 25 crore have been exported to Saudi since May, the largest customer of Indian cardamom.

Some of the Immune Boosting Spices:

For building immunity, it is necessary to have a balanced diet with the inclination towards immunity boosters.


The bioactive ingredient of garlic, i.e., allicin, is released when the garlic is cut or chopped into pieces. Research has shown that allicin helps in reducing the common cold by 63%. Garlic is used as traditional medicine by major civilizations such as Egyptians, Chinese, and Babylonians since ancient times.


The bioactive agent of turmeric, i.e., curcumin, acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. AYUSH recommends that turmeric powder, basil, and grated ginger are the best immune boosters when consumed daily.


The bioactive compound of ginger, i.e., Gingerol, traditional medicine, is extensively used to cure asthma, coughs and colds, and gastrointestinal complaints. It can be taken either in juice or in tea, or in the form of a dried powder.

Black Pepper:

Pepper acts as a remarkable natural remedy for nasal congestion and sinuses, providing immediate relief. It has been found by research that including black pepper, powdered, or crushed daily, can strengthen the body’s defence, and can improve overall health.



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Technological Intervention- Changing the Dynamics of Nutrition Sector

In providing a promising new route in engaging and delivering successful nutrition intervention in young adults and adolescents, digital technologies such as social media, gamification, health tracking, education, social support and others play a vital role.

Increasing use of social media and smartphones by these age groups is making technology-based interventions specifically pertinent to help this age group and teach positive habits that can be carried further into adult life.

According to a recent review, a technology-based intervention can also help treat mental health, diet modification, physical inactivity and substance abuse.  Robotics and Artificial intelligence also help researchers learn more about the connections between technology and humans.

Emerging Technologies in R&D as a Nutritional Intervention: 

Microarray and nanotechnology, these new emerging technologies can advance the science of nutrition by developing, discovering, and delivering several intervention strategies to improve health and reduce the complication and risk of various diseases.

Food grade nanotechnology and microarray are being increasingly used to improve efficient encapsulation, increasing bioavailability and digestibility.

Supply Chain (Food Blockchain Revolution): 

Blockchain technology is becoming a new level of sharing information and transparency for the farmers to processors to packer to distributor to packaged goods maker to retailer to foodservice operator to the exporter to the consumer, blockchain technology is taking off as a novel for the agri-food business to disclose and record transactions in an open virtual space across the entire chain.

AI Revolutionizing Food Processing and Healthcare Business:

AI is impacting the food processing industry efficiently; it helps the industry both directly and indirectly. It allows farmers with weather predictions, which indirectly produces high-quality raw materials for food processing companies. It instantly soothes the food processing business by food safety compliance, maintaining cleanliness, developing products, and sorting packages and products. 

AI technology even plays a vital role in healthcare by forecasting potential high-risk conditions and improving diagnostic accuracy. With enhanced AI capabilities, robotics equipped with AI robust seems to play a substantial role as surgical assistants, delivery, and transportation aids.

Consumer Awareness through Apps: 

  • Lesson From m-Nutrition:
    m-Nutrition is a global mobile-based advisory service, promotes behavioural change around farming practices and nutrition to boost adults and children’s nutritional health in low-cost countries. This m-Nutrition is a well-designed service that provides individually practical, tailored, and context-particular advice lacking in other information sources.
  • E-Learning to Empower Front-Line Nutrition Workers in India:
    The department of child and women development and FaNS Project of Madhya Pradesh, India, implemented an interactive eLearning platform in February 2019 to provide counselling skills to 97 135 front line supervisors and workers, high-quality, standardized, and systematic training to boost nutrition knowledge. To analyse this digital tool’s effects on front line workers’ capacity-building, a study was conducted in December 2019, which showed that 25,000 have embarked on 40 hours training course and 7000 have completed it. The training benefited ninety-nine percent of participants, and they claimed that the training enhanced their nutrition knowledge and counselling skills. The practice was said to be systematic, comprehensive, and suited to participants’ roles and responsibilities.
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The impact of Covid-19 on API manufacturing & supply

As an industry, we continue to adapt to the global challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and it is generally known that this will be felt for some time to come in the pharmaceutical industry.

Supply concerns are leading India to invest in local production:

The closure of several factories in China following the COVID-19 outbreak has been stated to have created the need for huge changes in the pharmaceutical industry. These factories make the basic raw materials and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) important to providing patients with crucial medicines on a continuous basis. These closures have had a knock-on impact on global supply during such unpredictable and challenging times.

For around 70 percent of the APIs it uses in pharmaceutical manufacturing, India depends on China. China’s coronavirus pandemic could have theoretically turned the tables on India’s $39 billion drug development sector, and numerous meetings with stakeholders were held by India’s Department of Commerce and Pharmaceuticals to promote domestic API manufacturing. In response, the Indian government has set aside $1.2 billion for the pharmaceutical industry and announced the development of a production-related incentive scheme for essential drug and API manufacturing to change the country’s dependency on China’s supply of APIs.

There is tremendous growth in the Indian pharmaceutical industry and it is projected to rise from almost $34.3 billion in 2020 to more than $45 billion by 2025. As part of its’ China-plus-one’ strategy to fill supply gaps, the country is currently undergoing the development of 53 APIs. As India is a major supplier of generic medicines worldwide, these steps are primarily aimed at ensuring and sustaining the supply of medicinal drugs. India is currently projected to remain one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Increased containment demand and sterile product transition in development

In addition, as pharmaceutical firms continue to hurry to create new medications, including the COVID-19 vaccine, manufacturers are looking at an increased need for sterile production capabilities. They also handle more highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredients (HPAPIs), a development in the industry that has been strengthened by current conditions. In line with this the global market for HPAPIs is projected to hit USD 34.8 billion by 2025, with a rise in rapid relief therapeutics expected to fuel this demand for HPAPIs in emerging countries such as India and China over the forecast period.

In the current pharmaceutical manufacturing climate, with such a rise in the use of HPAPIs and the need for sterile manufacturing expected to continue, pharmaceutical manufacturers need to achieve efficient, validated containment and sterile transfer, a challenge. It is a highly complex job to incorporate diverse technologies supplied by multiple manufacturers into contained and sterile production lines. Known validated split valve-based solutions for the development of common interfaces between different technologies can however, provide a cost-effective and scalable validated way to create a contained environment. In the months and years to come, such technologies will be crucial in preparing the industry for higher power and sterile production.

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Nutraceuticals & Nutrivigilance


The Nutraceutical industry is a booming field in India as the consumers are increasingly gaining exposure to various Dietary supplements and fortified products. Despite increasing awareness, nutrition remains an incompletely understood concept in India and a large portion of the population suffers from Malnutrition in one or the other form. As Nutraceuticals are presumed to be safe and are marketed without prescription in India, it is crucial to impose stringent guidelines and regulations over the active ingredients of nutraceuticals, identity, purity and bioavailability for the rationale use of nutraceuticals. Nutrivigilance is necessary to incorporate monitoring schemes to identify the adverse effects caused by nutraceuticals for the consumer safety.

Reporting by Healthcare providers:
Healthcare providers play a vital role as they are actively connected with patients and consumers. They are also aware of the health profile, history and current medication regimen of their patients. They can thus be tapped as influencers to educate the consumers about ensuring the right Nutrition.

Educating the consumer:
Providing Nutrivigilance guidance, awareness and updates as leaflets to consumers can improve awareness among them. Once again, healthcare providers can be instrumental in explaining potential side effects or inappropriate use and potentially risky combination of Nutraceuticals with other medicines.

Combating adverse effects of Nutraceuticals:

  • Avoiding prolonged use of Nutraceuticals without guidance of healthcare professionals
  • Not taking Nutraceuticals to treat self-diagnosed conditions
  • Not consuming Nutraceuticals with, or instead of Prescription medications without
  • consulting a Healthcare professional
  • Consulting healthcare professionals about the supplements taken before a surgical procedure
  • Abstaining use of Nutraceuticals sold through improper and untrustworthy channels
  • Being cognizant of labels and information provided on Nutraceutical products

Regulatory perspective:
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education act as well as the Food Safety and Standards act have issued rules and regulations regarding registration and licensing of Nutraceuticals in India.
As per norms, the manufacturer:

  • Is accountable for product analysis, development, authentication and safety of Nutraceuticals
  • it makes and supplies
  • Must not print any misleading information on the labels
  • Must not claim that the product will diagnose, treat or prevent any disease
  • Must guarantee purity, composition and identity of their Nutraceuticals

Path Ahead:
The domestic Nutraceutical market is currently experiencing growth. Existing as well as new players are providing nutraceuticals and dietary supplements both locally as well as globally.
With this background, the standardization of these products is one of the valiant challenges for regulators and the industry stakeholders. The need, scope and importance of Nutrivigilance have to be accepted with paramount importance.

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COVID-19 & Digital Transformation- A Catalyst for Change

COVID-19 was a wake-up call for pharma companies to assess the digital sophistication of their company and the potential to serve customised experiences to consumers. COVID-19 has intensified pre-existing developments in several ways: an expansion in the usage of clinical technologies and telemedicine; a drop in access to sales reps; an emphasis on patient experience; the pace of digital innovation through pharmaceutical companies.

These developments were brought into sharper focus by the pandemic and added a sense of urgency; but they were already, by it and wide, in motion. COVID-19 pressed the accelerator rather than applying the brakes on these movements.

It has also uncovered new ways to overhaul a static status quo and make drastic changes in fields that have not yet received similar focus: opportunities to facilitate telemedicine and a wider connected health ecosystem; a move towards a data-driven, tailored concierge approach for reps; deeper reaching simulated medical events; improved patient service services (PSPs) observing data-driven, personalized concierge approach

Although these methods may have been seen in the past in tiny pockets of activity, they are the latest developments influencing the future of the company enterprise. Now is the time for digital transformation to double. It has been thought about by the pharmaceutical industry for years, but today, it must come out of necessity, faster and more thoroughly than anybody expected or was ready for.

The COVID-19 should provide pharmaceutical manufacturers with a wake-up call to assess their own digital sophistication and willingness to represent clients who are tailored to show that they fully understand their requirements. A fair evaluation of the organization’s modern marketing sophistication and a focus of changes are required to meet the evolving demands and responsibilities of sales managers, HCPs, patients and careers.

Marketing leaders must understand how good their business is in three main drivers when making this assessment:

  • Using data to support corporate and marketing strategy
  • To build personal experience for customers
  • Technology to meet consumer requirements

The combined sophistication of data, customer experience and applied technology demonstrates new marketing readiness for an organization; measures against and prioritizes its business objectives. When viewed in this way, it becomes clear where the potential of a business stands, and a course of rapid evolution can be drawn up.


Even before 2020, there were old ways of commercializing pharmaceutical products with brands of blockbusters, traditional releases, clear campaign combinations and generous budgets. The pandemic of COVID-19 has exacerbated these improvements and brought in many of them, including patient adherence, revised HCP practices and vanishing sales reps access. Although customer experience has once evaluated effect on the range of personal sales and frequency, its impact and importance are affected today. Customers – patients as well as HCPs – expect importance and need it more than ever before. Modern marketing impacts consumers who have customised interactions that reflect understanding and sensitivity to their needs.

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With Immunity in Mind, Nutraceuticals is the Keyword


There is no doubt that the world is in a very distinctive and perturb state right now. Health is at the top of everyone’s mind, remarkably immune health because of the growing covid-19 pandemic. The immune system supports your body to fight against disease and protect it from getting ill in the first place.

While things like season changing and pandemic may warn us of immune health, it is really of great importance all year long.

The excellent news is that even though some things are out of your control, there is still much that you can control, precisely what supplement you take, what you eat, and how you treat your body.

With no scientific evidence-based treatment for COVID-19 yet and a vaccine still in the Clinical trial stage, the keyword has been ‘Nutraceuticals’ and ‘Immune boosters’ during the past eight to nine months.

Nutraceuticals & Functional Food Use- A Focus on Self- Protection:

Just before the pandemic, many of us did not know about what the Nutraceuticals is?

Coronavirus has done an excellent job of opening consumers’ eyes to the power of food and its function. Some findings are consistent with google and taste wise research, which demonstrates a rising trend for vitamin C, D, zinc, elderberries, rosemary, melatonin, collagen, mushroom, and Nutraceuticals. This finding is of note also because of the notable increase in the prevalence of internet searches for ‘food’ and ‘Immune system,’ which rose 670% globally in the first two weeks of March’20. In India, according to the google trend data the index search for immunity, gut health and nutraceuticals rose by 100%. 

This urgent requirement for a solution is reflected on the individual level by an unprecedented rise in consumer sales of supplementary nutrients, nutraceutical products, Ayurvedic concoctions, and functional products, which were considered effective against influenza, SARS virus, which has been on the front burner during this pandemic as well. However, consumers are seeking to use any functional food that is used to self-medicating their moods.

At a particular time in the past, traditional Indian homemade food was healthy and owned unbelievable health benefits. Indian food played a vital role in inflammation, immunity, brain function and people were healthy. The scene across the globe has changed, and India has also become a part of it. The nutraceutical market is flourishing predominantly in the United States, India, and European countries. When it comes to health and immunity, the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is ‘Nutraceuticals & Immune boosters’. It will continue as people have shifted towards prevention is better than cure.

The breakthrough in grasping the connection between health and nutrition gave an impulsion to the concept of nutraceuticals as a feasible and definitive perspective to meliorate health and lessen the peril analogous with certain diseases.

Increasing health awareness, drift in population disease demographics, where younger people are affected, lifestyle alterations, escalated purchasers’ opulence, and high life expectancy is responsible for increasing the market for nutraceuticals in India. 

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Digital Patient Engagement-The future of healthcare


Digital patient interaction is among the top ways to create outstanding contact with patients in the new era of pharmaceuticals. Digital patient interaction, no longer a distant concept, is a fact for payers and clinicians who strive to build better patient interactions.

Here are some of the top reasons why digital patient engagement is important and why it will continue to be relevant in the times to come.

Patient expect digital patient engagement:

We exist in an instant age, whether we like it or not. Watching the new video, ordering lunch or getting directions to the closest bar can all be done from a tablet, and patients want their healthcare providers to have the same capability. When it turns out, 54 % of people choose to connect with their healthcare provider via their phones. In addition, to make decisions about their wellbeing, they use this knowledge. 79 % of patients are more likely to choose a healthcare provider that helps them to access their healthcare records online or by phone, according to study. 

There is an emerging healthcare advertising-millennials, and their demands are much greater because they are an internet-first generation. In reality, 60 per cent of millennials favour telehealth to office visits, according to Salesforce. Patients place greater focus on digital participation across the board, and any healthcare professionals who do not keep up are at risk of being drowned by the competition.

Best way to connect with millennial:

Millennials represent the largest demographic at the time of writing. Described as individuals between the ages of 21 and 37, they will continue to be the main demographic group until 2050, as older generations decrease in number. Using digital patient experience technology to connect with millennials is up to healthcare providers, since they have a number of distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from other generations. 

Digital era will help to improve health literacy:

The key explanation for the use of interactive patient engagement programmes is that patients want to remain informed about the course of their care. However, there is more to it-how can patients grasp strategies for digital patient interaction if they lack basic health literacy? One of the most convincing cases of digital patient engagement is that it can boost health literacy, offering a range of benefits, from patients, payers, providers, doctors, all the way to pharmaceutical firms, to any stakeholder.

Typically, people living in rural areas with limited access to health education and living conditions that are not optimal are the communities struggling with health literacy the most. Healthcare services should set up digital patient interaction platforms that make a difference in order to help these patients out. This is the perfect medium for digital patient interaction and improving health literacy, considering how widespread the use of smartphones is. Educating patients on their diagnosis, condition and recovery is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase health literacy. This can be done through posters, website pages, webinars, or videos of medical explanators. In particular, videos are a fantastic solution for explaining a lot of data in a very short period of time, so that patients can easily access it through their phones.

Pharma companies are stepping up:

Realizing that healthcare professionals will not take care of it on their own, several pharmaceutical firms have made efforts to develop resources for digital patient interaction that support patients and doctors. In other words, the value of digital engagement platforms has also been taken up by pharmaceutical firms, and they have double the benefits. Next, they optimise the health benefits of patients. Second, due to the available communication resources they can demonstrate to their patients, they make an impact with doctors, who are more likely to prescribe their products.

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