There are product supply issues. There are more competitors. There are escalating costs. And then there’s the COVID-19 pandemic, which handed generics companies a particularly rough year.
Amid this head-spinning new landscape, generics companies are delving into new areas, including biosimilars and specialty medications. They are expanding their research and manufacturing facilities, forming partnerships, and putting other measures in place to ensure that they meet their customers’ expectations.
To be sure, customers’ demands for a consistent supply of products is one of the biggest thorns in the side of the generics industry. And while the pandemic is mainly to blame for disrupting the supply chain, it also has accelerated a wave of innovative solutions from generics companies.
While the pandemic had a negative impact on injectable sales due to a decrease in hospital elective surgeries, Kalawadia said that Dr. Reddy’s was able to ensure the supply of critical medicines.
Victor Borelli, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Edenbridge Parsippany, N.J.-based Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals, said the company has had to focus on strategic planning to meet customers’ needs. He said that during the initial stages of the pandemic, there was a feeling of uncertainty about the pandemic’s effect on the global supply chain.
“Edenbridge has been very strategic in our decisions to focus on the security of our supply chain,” Borelli said. “As a reaction to the uncertainty, we received customer orders that were 3 to 4 times more than normal. Due to the supply chain investments we have made, we were prepared for this and did not experience any issues.”
Borelli also pointed out that as the pandemic continues, there are other places in the world that are still feeling the impact, and this is further stressing the supply chain. “Our decisions are helping us not only meet our customers’ supply demands, but we are also assisting other customers with their supply gaps. We have not, nor do we anticipate any issues with our supply chain,” Borelli said.
Paul McMahon, senior vice president of commercial operations at East Windsor, N.J.-based Aurobindo, mirrored Borelli’s sentiments concerning how supply issues have become a priority for generics firms. He said that from a supply chain perspective, COVID continues to have some impact on the industry, especially when it comes to key starting materials, specifically API delays, as well as variability in material supplies and costs.
“Risk mitigation is another area all trading partners are reviewing within their supply chains for risk and ways to build in redundancy to eliminate it,” McMahon said. “Thankfully, the COVID spike in India has begun to recede significantly, and our team continues to be resilient and dedicated, and output levels have remained consistently high throughout. Aurobindo’s integrated supply chain is long and complex, yet nimble enough to quickly shift with market factors, as well as the incalculable external challenges that the pandemic presented us with.”