- How digitalization during the Covid-19 has helped the pharma industry?
- Every year, the innovations unlocked by technology seem to appear faster and faster. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced almost every industry to adopt digital transformation more than ever before and has accelerated technology in a way we have never seen before. The business landscape has changed significantly over the past decade.
The pandemic has helped us to realise the potential use of Information Technology for digital promotion and marketing of healthcare products. In the current and emerging scenario, the best option to communicate with the doctors and other related targets is through email, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft, and social media. While social media has become a powerful tool to ensure better customer reach. In fact, even the procurement processes have primarily shifted to online. Financial transactions are also preferred online.
I believe the digital transformation is expected to help the pharma industry to overcome existing and long-term business challenges and thrive in a challenging business landscape.
How did you cope with Covid-19 challenges?
Continuing operations particularly manufacturing has been challenging for most Industries. However, the pharma Industry has an edge as the industry operates all time in compliance with the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) which includes measures to rule out infection and contamination.
We are as affected by anybody due to Covid-19. Business has been affected but not as much. We have been working – in fact probably more than in the normal times thanks to the travel and traffic issues cut down. We are using collaboration tools very effectively for not only our internal discussions but also for engaging with our customers and partners.
Recently when the problem of Mucormycosis suddenly emerged and was diagnosed in patients being treated for Covid-19 digitalisation was a god sent medium in helping the pharma industry connect immediately for disseminating information about the innovative drug to treat Mucor and other life-threatening fungal infections.
Tell us the latest advancement in the care of Black Fungus and innovations at your end?
While the world (and importantly the developed nations) has been seen to be struggling with Corona virus and its new strains since a year now, post-Covid complications involving lungs, heart, kidney and GI are increasingly being reported. One such follow-on problem observed in many parts of India and other countries is the incidence of Black Fungus.
Black fungus medically termed Mucormycosis or Zygomycosis is a life-threatening fungal infection with high mortality and usually surfaces in immune compromised patients. Mucor infections, though are not the only threat to life of Covid survivors. All opportunistic infections, hospital-borne infections, drug resistant infections are invisible enemies around us all the time. All that such infections are waiting for is impaired immunity (and this is common in Covid patients, particularly diabetics and those treated with corticosteroids). Hospitals are suddenly burdened with unprecedented surge in multidrug resistant fungal infections. Rise in diverse fungal infections are also confirmed by a November 2020 report in Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal highlighting predominance of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) Candida auris infections in Corona Virus Disease patients from Delhi Hospitals.
Fungal infections if not treated timely and early with appropriate drugs can quickly turn fatal. A wide-spectrum drug effective against multidrug-resistant Mucor, Candida, Aspergillosis and other fungal co-infections is at the top of the wish list of every treating physician. In fact, Aspergillus being omnipresent and Cadida being resident to the human body, the infection incidence of these “waiting for the opportunity” is higher. Some of the Candida species are known to be MDR. Treating systemic mycosis with Azoles or sub-therapeutic doses of Liposomal/ Lipid Emulsion of Amphotericin B contributes to rise in Mucor infections that require treatment for long duration. In absence of timely medical intervention of Mucor infection, victims may lose eyes, bones of face, nose, etc and which may gradually lead to death. Mortality in case of Mucor patients is around 50%. Both morbidity and mortality in case of such patients can be minimized by early treatment with safe and potently effective “Liposomal Amphotericin B in Saline” which promises better treatment outcome as apparent from several case studies reported. This drug innovated in India by Lifecare Innovations is available as FUNGISOME i.v. and FUNGISOME Gel. The Gel is applied topically and compliments treatment after unavoidable surgical debridement of infected part of the patient.
A case study reports that after having lost one eye due to invasive Mucor infection, FUNGISOME i.v. was administered and the second eye of a young girl was saved and life-time blindness averted. In a rare feat Mucor infection of the brain was successfully treated with FUNGISOME i.v. at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital of Delhi. Expert physicians have consensus that early aggressive treatment with right medicine is the key to black fungus cure.