Ritesh Srivastava (IT Director - MSD)

MSD is one of the leaders in pharma space in India, we are known as MERCK in USA and everywhere else in the world we are called MSD Pharma. We are leaders in the space of diabetes drugs, in the space of vaccines, specialty drugs. We are a fairly new entity in India as we came around 2008-2009 so in that sense we are relatively lower company but we have been growing very fast in India and our objective is to reach and touch the lives of patients, make a difference in their health condition and we believe in the philosophy of medicines for the patients and access is the very important thing for our company. That is what drives us to work every day in terms of making a difference in life of patients in the way we make drugs. One of the drug that recently our company has focused is on oncologist space and we are focusing on immunotherapy as an area. We are looking at ground breaking and path breaking drugs in the area of Melenoma and other cancer indications, and we believe it will really make a difference in making life better for our patients. We are overwhelmed that so many patients throughout the world have been cured of cancer because of this path breaking drug. IT is a very integral part of MSD organization and we are very integrated with all the aspects of the organization in terms of drug discovery to manufacturing to supply chain to sales & marketing and also in the area of patient support and also supporting our key SEPs.

Technological Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry
There have been a lot of changes happening in this industry, there was a recent article from Times of India, where they did a survey on what kind of avenues doctors are looking for in terms of knowing about new therapy areas, new sources of information and what was very surprising is that even though personal touch points that are important but more and more doctors are looking for information from various online sources and also there is an increasing trend in the way doctors collaborate between each other like how they are sharing information, how they are learning from each other. Also if you see from the patient’s perspective, there are trends that patients trying to learn about diseases through various online channels and various patient support group. So lot is changing in the India pharma space and there are lot of companies specially in supply chain where lot of avenues are growing in the space of patient interaction and in the space of medical engagement.
Over all eco system under landscape is undergoing a lot of change I would say. Regulation wise there are still some regulations that are still evolving like online prescription, online medications and government is taking active steps in the way some of these technologies and some of these channels are opening up and the trends are definitely going to grow up.

Is Pharma Still a Laggard in the Digital Space?
We have to keep a perspective that pharma is a very regulated industry in terms of what you can do and what you can’t do in the Digital Space. Pharmaceuticals company is historically very conservative in that sense. If I talk about social, more and more companies are now becoming much more active in the social space and they want to understand what kind of issues the patients are having to become aware. We also see an increasing trend in pharma companies talking more about patient outcomes, medical outcomes and diseases. You see a lot of trends in the government in a way of what percentage of funds have been allocated by the government towards healthcare.

The Future of Pharmaceutical Innovation
If you see the Digitization of the entire experience from a patient’s perspective, it is undergoing a lot of change. So if you see when we as a patient to go various clinics or hospitals the kind of data that we generate around our healthcare records, electronic medical records, how do I, as a patient, see my holistic picture of my health. That is undergoing a lot of change and how the SAPs are going to benefit from Digitization of the data and how the patient is kept in the center of all this transformation is one of the trends, that I see.

Challenges in Pharmaceutical Industry
If we take for example supply chain management in India, it’s a huge challenge. As you know it’s a fragmented market in India and the way you purchase drugs in retail Pharmacy, there are thousands of pharmacies across the nation. Indian scenario will undergo a lot of change when GST comes into the picture in the sense of supply chain areas.