Multiple Indian drugmakers, including giants such as Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Cipla, Lupin and Zydus Cadila, last week came together in an unprecedented move to form ABCD Technologies LLP, with plans to digitize the country’s vast infrastructure of medicine distribution to allow better tracking and tracing of drugs.

This includes allowing consumers to know where they can find the drugs they have prescriptions for and for companies to reduce shortage and wastage of drugs.

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“If you see (covid-19 drugs) favipiravir or remdesivir, so many people can’t even know where you can get them. The entire supply chain between distributors, stockists and chemists is very scattered…The tracking mechanism will allow a chemist to tell the patient where he can find the medicine if he is out of stock. It will also allow a distributor to recognize batches that may be about to expire and send it to chemists so that the medicine is consumed and there is no wastage,” Girish Vanvari, founder of Transaction Square, said. Transaction Square managed the ABCD Technologies transaction.

On Monday, ABCD Technologies LLP completed the acquisition of 91.8% of shareholding in Pharmarack by purchase of shares from multiple shareholders for a total of Rs111 crore. The partnership is in process of acquiring the remaining stake as well over the next five years.

Apart from Pharmatrack, the entity is also acquiring the pharmaceutical market research firm AIOCD Pharmasofttech AWACS Pvt. Ltd for Rs75 crore, with two-third being acquired now and the remaining stake over the next few months. ABCD Technologies will later be renamed IndoHealth Services LLP.

“The business model of Pharmatrack is to connect distributors and chemists. Right now, they are good in Maharashtra. That will now go nationwide with the strength of the partnership. Similarly, AWACS is one of the most favoured subscriptions (for pharmaceutical market research) and that will also be grown,” Vanvari said.

The four companies, through their partnership, aim to allow better track and trace of drugs, which in turn will allow consumers to know where they can get their prescribed medicines, and allow companies to better manage their inventory across the country to reduce wastage.

The track and trace mechanism is similar to the Indian drug regulator’s suggested mechanism for tracking and tracing of key drugs using a bar code system.

Vanvari said that the entity is also looking at roping in other pharmaceutical companies in the venture and is in talks with some large Indian drugmakers for it.

“There is a lot of interest from other pharmaceutical companies and they are keen to be a part of this initiative,” Vanvari said, but declined to name the drugmakers as they are listed on stock exchanges.

The initiative, the four companies said, is in support of the National Digital Health Mission of the government, which had envisaged supply chain management as a key component.

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