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What Role Can AI Play In Drug Supply Chain Management?

What Role Can AI Play In Drug Supply Chain Management?

  • COVID-19 compelled pharmaceutical companies to reconsider how clinical trials were conducted and how patients were treated.

AI application in the life science and pharmaceutical industry is gaining considerable momentum in India, especially in improving clinical trials, drug analysis, and fast-track product launches.

Pharmaceutical supply chain management complex and the pandemic added to its existing woes. The global impact on supply networks due to COVID-19 restrictions disrupted the supply chain and created difficulties for the pharmaceutical business, necessitating a rethinking of supply chain management and novel solutions. Artificial Intelligence is one such solution that has played a significant role in many domains during the pandemics. 

For instance, AI played an integral role in enhancing the healthcare industry to unlock its potential, significantly reducing costs and expediting drug development cycles. There has been a visible trend of AI integration in R&D because it facilitates an intuitive interpretation of massive, collated data. The COVID-19 pandemic compelled pharmaceutical companies to reconsider how clinical trials were conducted and how patients were treated in hospitals and homes. Even the Indian pharmaceutical sector has started to utilize AI because of its potential in reducing costs and accelerating market access for innovative treatments. 

According to research conducted by Infosys called ‘Amplifying Human Potential – Towards Purposeful AI’, the pharmaceuticals and life science industries are leading in AI adoption. AI application in the life science and pharmaceutical industry is gaining considerable momentum in India, especially in improving clinical trials, drug analysis, and fast-track product launches. Companies like RxPrism, a digital healthcare marketing company, is focused on providing digital solutions to life sciences and pharmaceutical organizations. It offers cloud-based platforms which include cloud-enabled remote detailing, consultation, and analytical administrations These platforms enable Medical representatives  to virtually interact with any pharma company in the world.

(Image credits: Deloitte)

US-based Whiz.ai is another  platform that creates cognitive insights about sales, market access, patient services, or clinical trials. It provides real-time analytics to pharmaceutical commercial operations and market data. Under the Union government’s Digital India initiative, big pharmaceuticals businesses are getting interested in AI implementation. According to the Pharmaceuticals Global Market report, the pharmaceuticals market is expected to reach $1700.97 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 8%.

“Generic drug manufacturers in India are already paying a premium for APIs. So as long as Indian drug manufacturing lags, prices will rise as well.”

As demonstrated by IBM Watson, AI and ML have enormous potential across the pharma-life sciences value chain. It has significant benefits for healthcare professionals, patients as well as those in the industry. Considering how a predictive supply chain could result in a superior patient-caregiver experience, the healthcare industry is rapidly adopting AI to maximize the value of such management. The outbreak of COVID-19 accelerated this interest as companies saw the potential of AI technologies in mitigating risks across supply chain management. 

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How This Health-Tech Startup Is Digitising Patient Management With AI

Indian scenario

Even though India plays a crucial role in the global supply chain with its large generic drug industry, it must rely still on China for a large percentage of the APIs used in drug manufacturing. Generic drug manufacturers in India are already paying a premium for APIs. So as long as Indian drug manufacturing lags, prices will rise as well. Generic drugs may therefore be expected to increase in price in the future, which will affect the supply chains of all industries, including the global supply chains of biopharma, from raw materials to finished products. 

Therefore, many companies see the potential of AI in recovering from the economic ramification of COVID-19 and help in research, clinical trials, disease detection and post-marketing surveillance. According to an analysis by Deloitte on Intelligent drug supply chain, AI and digital technologies can play a critical role in helping biopharma to ‘Recover’ and ‘Thrive’, everything from pricing, cost distribution etc.

Many new supply chain technologies leverage AI to automate the pharmaceutical industry to improve its supply chain management. nVipani, an Indian startup that provides solutions for procuring day to day material for pharma companies, uses real-time data for analyzing various stages of the supply chain such as inventory consumption, raw material procurement and other inventory-related issues. As technological progress steadily increases, AI will revolutionize Pharmaceutical companies. They will actively explore the next model for supply chain management that will contribute in healthcare advancement to deliver enhanced patient care and gain a competitive edge. 

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