Building healthy futures: IDA's pharmaceutical suppliers
Published on 2022-02-09 15:56:3650 years IDA Foundation

Building healthy futures: IDA's pharmaceutical suppliers


Amsterdam, 10 February 2022 - Our 50th anniversary Stories campaign continues with an insight into the role of IDA’s (pharmaceutical) suppliers. Our quality-assured products are available to our customers thanks to the strong, long-time relationships we have with suppliers who share our commitment to quality.

Many of IDA’s suppliers are currently based in India, a country sometimes referred to as ‘pharmacy of the world’. The rapid development of this industry took place over the last 30 years, enabled by the Patents Act of 1970 (taking effect around the same time that IDA was founded!). The goal of this Patent Act was to foster the development of a home-grown Indian pharmaceutical industry, and to guarantee that the Indian public had access to low-cost medicines. The Act was changed from a ‘product patent’ to ‘process patents’ (meaning changes in the way a product is manufactured allowed the product to be recreated for generic versions).  

Recognising the swift development of the generic pharmaceutical industry, IDA also saw its own expansion of activities over the years. In 1990, we started working with a representative in India, Mr. Shree Rajwade. This relationship remains, as we built a strong supplier network in India and beyond, followed by the opening of IDA India in 2006. Two of these suppliers that worked with IDA from the start are Medopharm and Macleods, who grew with IDA throughout the changes in global health over the years.

With the industry still in the nascent stage in the 1990s, IDA’s experience and knowledge on quality systems and audits was highly valued by the pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Quality Guidance

Macleods Sr. Vice President Shailesh Pednekar also recognised that the regulatory oversight over quality of medicines in Africa and other low- and middle-income countries was either absent or not fully developed. “This could often lead to substandard quality medicines coming into the countries’ healthcare systems. IDA Foundation plugged this gap and by the virtue of their own QA systems, ensured that products from quality reliable sources would reach the patients who needed them the most.” With many new manufacturers trying to access the more developed markets (EU/US) in the years that followed, the bar was raised in quality standards. As Mr. Pednekar added: “IDA’s QA process and audits helped various companies to bridge gaps, upgrade their facilities and facilitate overall preparedness for entering new (developed) markets as well.”

Growing together

Through IDA’s advice and guidance in their early years, many were able to meet the required (GMP) standards, said Medopharm’s CEO Udhan Chordia: “I can safely say that Medopharm has upgraded as an organisation thanks to its close collaboration with IDA’s QA team who guided us in the early years on quality, competitive pricing, market intelligence and the need for speed to deliver. We started off as a supplier of paracetamol tablets to IDA Foundation and now we supply more than 100 different products. This achievement doesn’t just say something about Medopharm, but also about the strength of IDA to support organisations like us to perform better and grow faster with them.”

IDA India’s General Manager Shree Rajwade recalls the 1990s when the industry saw strong growth, visiting multiple manufacturing sites for two weeks straight in the first and again in the second half of the year. In those years, many were family-owned businesses, whereas now many are world leaders in the production of high-quality generic medicines. The current pandemic has been proof of the fact that India can grow, innovate and deal with challenges to continue distributing time-critical pharmaceuticals to every part of the globe where required.”

Future perspective

When we look at the past 50 years, as with the many changes in the global health supplier environment, we foresee continuing development and changes in the industry in the coming years. Aside from our strong supplier base in India, China, Bangladesh and beyond, we also look towards the African market which is rapidly evolving. The pandemic has shown a need and a shift towards local manufacturing.

In line with IDA’s long-term goal of Strengthened Local Capacity, we already have a broad network of agents and distributors, and have been working on extending our manufacturer base in Africa. As we did in the 1990s, IDA will provide support and quality guidance to newly approved manufacturers. Alongside our strong Asian supplier base, we look forward to growing and creating global health impact together.

We thank Mr. Udhan Chordia (Medopharm) and Mr. Sailesh Pednekar (Macleods) for their kind perspectives for this article.

Visit our Suppliers page for more information, and find our other 50th anniversary stories here: