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Analysis of IT Requirements for Pharmaceutical Business

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Published: Fri, 02 Mar 2018

Project Title

Analyzing the IT requirement and developing software for a small pharmaceutical wholesaler working in India.

Abstract

The aim of this project is to enhance the effectiveness of pharmaceutical whole sale business in India. It is to investigate various ways of developing software for businesses in the pharmaceutical sector. This project will investigate domain-specific requirements for billing, stock maintenance, customer services; keep track of drug licenses and retail pharmaceuticals in India. And develop a software system to automate wholesale pharmaceutical company in order bring effectiveness and productivity, profitability into business.

Introduction

Pharmacy is a domain, which has already shown lot of growth in India. As of now when we consider, it is still fast growing field when compared with other fields. “Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Works” is the first Indian pharmaceutical company. This company exists even now and operating in government sector. It was established in 1930. Since then most of the time India imported drugs from other countries. It happened for around 60 years. Later on in India, the government started helping pharmacy industries to see what they are today. At present there are many laws that govern pharmaceutical companies and drugs in India. There are some patent related rights. As of now Indian pharmaceutical industry is doing well and recognized by the world. It is having good share in the world market. In India around 20000 drug manufacturers exist. As peripheral outfits, medical wholesalers, retailers, dealers started growing.

In this backdrop, the aim of this project is to enhance the effectiveness of pharmaceutical whole sale business in India. It is to investigate various ways of developing software for businesses in the pharmaceutical sector. Information Technology is best used in pharmacy to increase effectiveness in the business systems. It could be used at various levels including whole sale market of the pharmacy industry. It promotes new ways of working and making business. It ensures quality of services thereby increasing overall productivity of business systems. There are some areas that have great impact on this industry by using Information Technology.

When it comes the theme of this project that is increasing the effectiveness of drugs wholesalers by adopting Information Technology as the main instrument to provide quality of service to its customers and get maximum profits out of it. The main purpose of using such software is to improve the performance, transparency, consistency in the system. It is difficult to do many things manual. The manual system has the following drawbacks.

  • Time consumption
  • Error prone
  • Less profitability
  • Less customer satisfaction

Provided the above drawbacks of manual system, if the same is automated we can reap the following benefits. The benefits of using such Information Systems can strengthen the pharmaceutical industry in India. Wholesalers in this field are important part of such businesses. It is not like taking care of one business. It is like taking care of complete chain of businesses. We should have good supply chain mechanism that works with co-ordination by all business partners.

The wholesalers provide both stocking and distribution functionalities. They enable customers to get products easily whenever required. There must be trade association between manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers in order to provide in time and quality service to its consumers. The pharmaceutical wholesalers can also sale other related to products not only medicines. Other products related to medicine they can have some business. They can also provide technical information to people. They are equipped with the knowledge of various drugs and how to handle them and use them.

One fine thing about pharmaceutical industry is that they are controlled by the government. This paves way to good and healthy nature among the companies that are into this market.

Small and medium software systems can help wholesalers and business holders provide good service to their respective customers. Customer satisfaction is the key for any business to grow. For this we have got new subjects like “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM) and eCRM. The wholesalers could be a part of SCM (Supply Chain Management). In this case they can use the common software for entire chain. Or else they can have different software with heterogeneous nature and still work under common interfaces. They can work together to achieve the business goals of business partners.

Once again I reiterate that Information Technology is best used in pharmacy to increase effectiveness in the business systems. It could be used at various levels including whole sale market of the pharmacy industry. It promotes new ways of working and making business. It ensures quality of services thereby increasing overall productivity of business systems. There are some areas that have great impact on this industry by using Information Technology.

Client Background

Padma Agencies

is the pharmaceutical business wholesaler. Its business is located in Koti, Hyderabad, India. The shop area is 12*20 sqft space. Total staff is 10 members, in these 2 members fill the stock, 2 members writing bills, 1 member collecting cash, 5 members to save and packing all to customers. They don’t have any problem in serving customers. Mostly the time is wasting at billing and calculating and at cash point because the calculating and billing is manually, so at cash point he must check the items and price and total again by manually due to containing the correct prices are available for customer or not. Here price can vary by mistakes.

More Details of Example Company

  • No data base is used to maintain the stock.
  • There are different types of products and number of companies.
  • The company salesmen (i.e., P&G, Nestle, Cadbury, etc) come to the shop and check the quantity with help of staff member and place an order for stock to them by guessing the quantity.
  • Expiry and damage stock will be replaced by company, if the staff can find it and hand over to company.
  • Some products (i.e., summer products, rainy products, winter products) maintain heavy stock by their seasons and demanding products.

Payments

  • All the payments done by cash and cheques on company name.
  • If shop had a credit to particular company the M.D doesn’t receive original receipt.
  • The shop keeper get the original bill after he clear the payment, up to they had a duplicate.

Customer Placing Order

  • Customer visit with order form
  • Customer can order by phone.

Delivery

  • Pickup the order forms from customers and serve the items to customer, after calculating manually and payment
  • Taking the order from phone and packed in a handled care boxes and delivery by using transport facility.

Payment Methods

These shops accept by cash, cheques and D.D only.

Selling

  • The goods are sale only who have a drug license No(i.e., only for Retail Pharmaceuticals)
  • Every product had a price on them i.e., called maximum retail price (M.R.P.).

Present Mode of Operation

They are selling all the products by whole sale price, now the present system is totally manually i.e. billing on a paper and calculating with calculators, stock maintenance is just by guessing. Price checking is maintain in a book and items are 6000-8000 different types of items they maintaining.

Daily Maintenance

In the company they are maintaining ten employees, 1 M.D, 1 assist manager. In these shops the customers are visit in 4-500 hundreds per day. The salesman’s sales the goods only for whom having a drug license, so, here the customer should have a drug license number to buy any product in the shop.

Selling Daily

A customer comes with an order form containing of items, sizes and quantity.

The present system is manual and has the following drawbacks.
Is a semi-automated at where the information is stored in the form of excel sheets in disk drives.

  • The information storage and maintenance is more critical in this system.
  • Tracking the salesman activities, customer activities and progress of the work is a complex operation.
  • Existing system cannot provide the facility of accepting cheques.
  • Very less security because of file systems.
  • Very less customer satisfaction as quality of service is less.
  • Time consuming process because of manual report generation.
  • Management of stocks may not be accurate.
  • Prediction of drugs demand, based on seasons is complex.
  • Placing of orders through phone and home delivery is not possible.
  • This system cannot provide the information sharing by 24×7 days.

Literature Review

India Pharmaceutical Industry

Richard Gerster

said “The Indian pharmaceutical industry is a success story providing employment for millions and ensuring that essential drugs at affordable prices are available to the vast population of this sub-continent.”India is a country in which it is proven that growth of pharmaceutical science, manufacturing and wholesaling is more. Across the country there are about 20,000 manufacturing units. The drug control authority in India gives licenses to drug manufacturers. India has quality producers who complete with world giants in the same industry. It is made possible as India has advantages in terms of good and skilled man power, excellent and cost-effective chemical synthesis, and good financial and legal framework which will ensure faster growth in the industry, very good strength in information technology usage, globalization, and good opportunities for foreign investors in this sector.

As can be seen in the above table large share of revenue is generated by pharmaceutical industry in India. The table also shows the companies that stand top 10 positions. The future growth of India pharmaceutical sector is shown in the following diagram.

Indian pharmaceutical industry has been witnessing a phenomenal growth in recent years. With low-cost manufacturing, most of small firms they don’t have their own production facilities but they operate using the spare capacity of another company drug manufactures. High quality research, personal education and the facilities of manufacturing the Indian pharmaceuticals industry presents a competitive thread. The Indian pharmaceutical industry has got first in the Indian science based technologies with their wide range of capabilities in the complex of drugs manufacturing and technology. It is a highly organized sector worth to be a $4.5 billions and increasing the profitability with 8 to 9 percentage annually. Indian pharmaceutical industry placed before than all in terms of quality, technology, and the range of medicine manufactured. It is manufacturing every type of medicine for a small things to sophisticated antibiotics.

In the development of medicines Indian Pharmaceutical Industry playing a key role and it fallows the quality procedures by regulatory authorities in U.S.A and U.K. Many international companies are associated with this sector and these companies are assisted and stimulated for past more than 50 years and helps to India keep on the pharmaceuticals world.

It is extremely fragmented with more than 20000 registered units and growing drastically in the last two decades. Only the leading 250 companies are getting 70 percentage of market with market leader holding 7% of the market share. With demanding of tablets, capsules, orals, bulk drugs, drug intermediates and pharmaceutical formulations, Indian pharmaceutical sector meets over 70% of the countries demands. In India there is 5 central public units, 250 large units and nearly 8000 small scale sector units.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry has low costs of production, low R&D costs, innovation of scientific manpower, strength of laboratories and increasing balance of trade. The pharmaceutical company is going on the international market with its rich scientific talent and research capabilities.

The domestic pharma industry:

The domestic pharma industry has recently achieved some historic milestones through a leadership position and global assessment. Many Indian companies maintained amazing standards and stability, environmental production and supply of bulk drugs to some innovate companies. More of Indian companies are now seeking regulatory approvals in USA in specialized segments.

Increasing number of Indian pharmaceutical companies have been getting international regulatory approvals for their plants. Indian companies are now seeking more abbreviated new drug approvals in USA in specialized segments.

Growth of Indian market:

In the year of 2009 Indian pharmacy was assessed $7,743m which increments of 4% than 2007u.Business observers decided that India has made good percentage than other international companies. It is also appearing as a preferred location for pharmaceutical companies.

India is the world fourth largest producer of pharmaceuticals in volume. And it increases the productivity indirectly. Indian pharmaceutical industry reached us$10.88 billion and it is likely to becomes double in volume that is us$20.95 billion in 2014.

Globalization of Indian pharmaceutical industry:

In the early of 1990’s the Indian government has opened its market to foreign investments and started the globalization. Indian pharmacy sector globalization took place with the other countries entered into this sector. Globalization has increased the world in recent years due to rapid progress especially in communications and transport.

The various advantages of globalization is it brought huge amount of foreign currency into industry and turn to boost up India. With many foreign companies entering in Indian pharmacy sector, it increase the jobs availability in India.

The benefits of Indian pharmaceutical globalization is, many of the foreign international companies entering into India and brought with a highly equipment technology and it improves the medicines quality and that were available to the people. Many Indian pharmaceutical companies took over international companies to grow up and for more profits.

There are some disadvantages also appearing in globalization of Indian pharmacy that there may be increase the competition between foreign pharmaceutical companies and domestic companies. This will result that the profits may decrease and companies may shut-down. And one more disadvantage is many of the foreign pharmacy companies are taking over the domestic companies which happened already. This may led to fear that foreign companies will take over the Indian pharmacy companies. And many of employees lost their jobs by the company integrations.

Advantage in India:

  • India posses a skillful work force with high technical and as well as managerial competence.
  • The track record of development and cost-schedule synthesis for various drug molecules are excellent.
  • Legal framework is also good in India, financial market is also good.
  • It has a good network of world most educational institutes.
  • The country is committed to a free market economy and globalization.
  • after many years international pharmaceutical industry has discovered many opportunities in India.

Future of pharmaceutical sector:

The future of pharmaceutical sector in India is extremely good and positive. Several Indian companies are acquiring US Europe companies and several more are raising funds to do so. India has began recognizing global patents. In future Indian pharmacy going to be an unbeatable position in Pharmacy. It is one of the fastest growing sector in India. Market for pharmaceuticals in India has strong potential for increased growth.

Generic drugs produced in India being accepted worldwide. Global pharmaceutical companies dealing a long term relationships with India.

View of pharmaceutical sector:

As in the present scenario only few people can afford costly medicines which has improved price sensitivity in the market. That is the reason most of the companies introducing the high quality medicines with low price drugs for giving the competition to other industries. With product patent act which takes place in January 2005, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is attracted the MNCs to India.

At present most of the Indian companies are looking forward to tie up with foreign industries for in-licensed drugs. Contract research and pharmaceutical outsourcing are the new events in Indian pharmacy market. Indian multinational companies have created awareness about Indian market in world pharmacy industries.

Legislative Framework Pertaining To Manufacture and Sale of Drugs in India

In the early 1990s, the drug industry in India was negligible and used to import drugs from other countries. Later the Indian government understood the situation and decided to introduce laws related to drug manufacturing and distribution. Gradually it ensured that industry is growing faster and introduced many other laws that govern the industry. At present in India the following acts and rules are present to control the manufacture, import, export and clinical research of medicines and cosmetics in India.

  • The drugs and cosmetics act, 1940
  • The pharmacy act, 1948
  • The drugs and magic remedies act, 1954
  • The narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances act, 1985
  • The medical and toilet preparations act, 1956
  • The drugs order, 1995

Academic Literature in on Requirements Analysis for Small Business Systems Pertaining to Pharmacy

Information Technology is best used in pharmacy to increase effectiveness in the business systems. It could be used at various levels including whole sale market of the pharmacy industry. It promotes new ways of working and making business. It ensures quality of services thereby increasing overall productivity of business systems. There are some areas that have great impact on this industry by using Information Technology. They are:

  • Electronic transfer of prescriptions
  • Hospital e-prescribing
  • Information governance

The electronic prescriptions between prescribers and pharmacists improve the efficiency and quality of service. It allows various fragments of pharmacy related systems get connected seamlessly.

The hospital e-prescribing programmed is used to support chain of activities like prescription, administration and supply of medicines.

Information sharing is also possible among health related systems in the world.

Known Issues that Affect Pharmaceutical Business

  • There is an improving pressure on Pharmaceutical and bio-technology companies to use information technology in order to achieve their business goals.
  • Areas in Health Care industry such as drug development, molecular research, formulary acceptance, detailing, contract sales, whole sailing has been affected by the rapid growth of IT industry
  • The competition in the industry is comparing to be the best or second in the fray.
  • Every area of pharmacy industry is affected by the influence of science and technology and organizations are compelled to take the help of IT at least to remain in the industry
  • There are some issues related to laws of Indian government. The industry must stick to the acts/rules imposed by government. Such rules may be changing from time to time.
  • Answer to many of these issues is in the ability of companies pertaining to pharmaceutical utilizing the full power of Information Technology to leverage its profitability.
  • The information related challenges can be overcome by using Information Technology in bio technology and pharmacy.

More about Pharmaceutical Industry in India

The government of India has been very supportive for drug Industry in the country. The government has been giving many benefits to the pharmaceutical companies in India. They are given land for establishing company and also tax benefits related to business. The Indian government not only encouraging the companies in India, it also helped many foreign investors muster their funds and invest in India in the industry of pharmaceuticals. In the process of improvement this industry has faced many challenges too. The problems like lack of funding for beginners, difficulty in getting funds from government. The biochemical industry is uncertain.

Another important problem faced by Indian pharmaceutical companies in the early stages for long time was that “lack of skilled human resources”. Of course this is there in all industries to some extent. Indian companies overcame such problems and now having a very good share in the world pharmaceutical business.

Functional Requirements of Proposed System for

Padma Agencies

  • Maintenance of customer details.
  • Stock maintenance.
  • Billing.
  • Order details.
  • Keeping track of drug licenses.
  • Predicting the future demands of the retailers based on the seasons.
  • Ordering of goods through phone and home delivery is possible.
  • Online ordering of goods.
  • Customized report generation.

The functional requirements are classified into the following modules

  1. Stock Maintenance
  2. Ordering
  3. Billing

Stock Maintenance Module

This module is responsible for complete stock maintenance. It takes care of complete inventory of medicines and related products. It can generate reports as per the stock status. As things are sold the changes in the physical store is reflected in this inventory.

Ordering Module

In this module all the work related to ordering of goods is done. Placing orders by predicting the behavior of the retailers and the customers. It takes care of orders sent by its retail customers. It is also responsible to generate reports related to orders received from its customers and order made to pharmacy manufacturers.

Billing Module

When the system is started, it should authenticate user before providing its functionalities

  • The output bill should appear as containing the shop name, address, phone number and drug license no.
  • It contains which system i.e. (system 1, system 2,etc), billing staff id, name, bill no(transaction number), time, date, receipt type (original, duplicate, refund, void item, void transaction, etc), quantity, product name price per single and total price quantity, and the end grand total for all products , if vat is applicable then vat summary.

Salesman is the person who involves in bill preparation, report generation for the current stocks maintained and tracking the drug license’s of the retailers. It is responsible for billing activities for the licensed customers. It does mean that the retail businesses that contain a valid drug license are allowed to buy pharmacy products from this store.

System Requirements

Thorough understanding of the system in terms of technologies required warrants that the following are the software and hardware requirements to build this system.

SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

Operating System : Windows XP/2000/2003/Vista

Technology : Core Java, JDBC, Swings (JDK 1.5/1.6)

Database Server : Oracle 9i/10G

HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS

Processor : Pentium based systems with a minimum of P4

RAM : 256MB (minimum)

Research Methodology

Case 1:

  1. Standard labeling rules when dispensing medicines.
  2. Interfacing with a standard accounting package.
  3. Providing links to manufacturers’ web pages about specific products.
  4. Drug wholesalers’ websites to get some ideas?

Standard Labeling Rules When Dispensing Medicines:

A system for automated dispensing of a packaged pharmaceutical comprising good medicine labeling standards is vital to ensure the safe use of medicines. The intention of this study is to evaluate and compare compliance towards labeling standard for dispensed medications between community pharmacists and general practitioners. The medicines for human use Regulations 1994 specify the requirements for the labeling of relevant medical products which are supplied to patients. Dispensed medicines would normally require being added number of details at the time of supply. But much of the information about medicines will be available on the label of hospital manufacturing unit.

The regulations has amended to allow for a reduced dispensing label requirement to cover the patient name, date of dispensing , dose or volume , direction to use and cautionary steps to follow. The medical product has to be prepared or dispensed in accordance with the prescription by the given practitioner. The assembled product is for retail supply or circumstances corresponding to retail supply. The assembled product must be sold from that pharmacy or at any other registered pharmacy forming part of the same retail pharmacy business. The assembled product cannot be advertised.

  • The over label must not obscure the printed text of a licensed pack in any way.
  • The label has to apply to the blank area designated on the original pack for the dispensing label.
  • In cases where an original pack does not have provision for a dispensing label, the over label should be firmly attached to the pack in a manner that is easily readable and does not obscure the licensed text nor interfere with the safe and effective use of the medicine.
  • Original packs over labeled in accordance with these principles may be supplied direct to hospital pharmacies, health centers etc without the necessity for formal variation of the Marketing Authorization by the Marketing Authorization holder.
  • Breaking bulk (manufacturer’s original pack) will require a variation to the respective Marketing Authorization.

It would be normally good practice to add the date of the supply; it can be form as a following diagram.

The dispensed container should me labeled with the following information

  1. Practice name, address and 24 hour telephone number(s).
  2. hould specify the intended users.
  3. Client name, patient name and client address also.
  4. Purpose of the drug prescription, Drug name and Strength.
  5. Number if tables or volume in case of liquid.
  6. Date dispensed.
  7. Direction for use like dose, frequency and method taking the drug.
  8. Relevant information and warnings, and the process of preventing the danger if the drug has taken accidentally.
  9. Labeling of investigational medicines

This paragraph is about the standard labeling for the investigational products which are used in clinical trials. The trail has to be conducted within the Member states conducted by study. The planning of trail doesn’t require any particular manufacturing.

The normal dispensing label would be of the form as shown below

In addition to this quantity of dose (number of tables/capsules) is also to be added.

It can also include

  1. Name of sponsor, means name research organization /investigator.
  2. Trail reference code specifying the identification of the trail site.
  3. It would contain the information on the product, dosage, storage conditions, and batch number etc.

Interfacing With a Standard Accounting Package

The pharmaceutical wholesaler “Padma Agencies” can have its account part integrated with some standard accounting packages already available in the market instead of reinventing the wheel again. At present its mode of payment is as shown below.

Payments

  • All the payments done by cash and cheques on company name.
  • If shop had a credit to particular company the M.D doesn’t receive original receipt.
  • The shop keeper get the original bill after he clear the payment, up to they had a duplicate.

Instead of making all the modules in the pharmaceutical application, the application can be integrated with a standard account package. All the functionalities provided by accounting packages can be reused if we can seamlessly integrate our application with that. This is possible provided standard interfaces given by the accounting packages’ vendors that support integration with the applications developed in other languages.

This integrates accounting, accounts receivable, and inventory management systems, which allows the distributor headquarters to operate with minimal staffing. Each step of the process is self-contained and modular allowing rapid and flexible geographic expansion.

Web Links to Drug Manufactures

From the application we can provide the web links to different manufacturing companies across the world. So if some specific product is not available from local market that should be purchased from the manufacturing company. For that if required product has selected and makes a request than the manufacturing company web site will be explored.

Pharmaceutical involves manufacturing of drugs and equipments in healthcare. Development of drugs is a costly process in pharmaceutical. And the drug producing companies should have commercial license for research and development according to the rules and regulations of the drug license standard body. And distribution and marketing is also a vital role. The pharmaceutical market of India has achieved a tremendous growth in technology and infrastructure.

The sites can introduce you about the pharmaceutical industry. And site will provide the information about the latest innovations and developments and future scopes of the pharmaceutical industry. And the different aspects of the pharmaceutical industry have been explored. Moreover it provides history information about pharmaceutical industry along with its future scope.

In addition to manufacturer information it is also provide that the product information, complete description of the product, its usage, storage conditions, ingredients ration, and whom should use under which circumstances.

The pharmaceutical wholesalers are having a vital role in supply of medications. For ethical pharmaceuticals wholesaler provides a link between pharmaceutical manufactures and retail outlet pharmacies, dispensing doctors and hospitals and promoting the new innovative medications.

The responsibilities of the Pharmaceutical wholesaler

  • Pharmaceutical wholesalers provide distribution and stock holding functions.
  • And for customers the products should be provided according to their daily requirements. So that avoiding customers having large stock.
  • Retails pharmacists and dispensing doctors have to keep normal working medicine stock.
  • The wholesalers have to efficiently supply on a daily basis or even within a shorter period after receiving the orders from their customers.
  • Full line wholesalers can stock and sell a full range of pharmaceuticals.
  • But Short line wholesalers should sell only fast moving products; they should not contain all the products stock.
  • They can import these products from manufacturers or foreign wholesalers.

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