Alagu Subramaniam, managing director of West in India

The Philadelphia-headquartered West Pharmaceutical Services expanded its services in India earlier this year by opening a new plant at the Sri City Special Economic Zone in Andhra Pradesh. West Pharma was a part of the recently concluded CPhI India organized by UBM at India Expo Centre in Greater Noida.

West is a leader in the manufacturing and supply of injectable packaging and delivery devices that it demonstrated at CPhI India. Injectables are the biggest growth drivers in the pharma packaging segment and can be primarily classified into ampoules, pre-fill syringes and cartridges. West also plays a critical role in providing the elastomer (rubber) seals and caps for pharma. When the injectable is in contact with various parts of its container, one must make sure that nothing from the drug comes in direct contact with the rubber sealing of the container that may result in contamination.

This is the first time that the event has been organized in North India. In fact, Mumbai was a better location for this event, as it was easier for more players to attend it and the footfalls during the course of the event were huge. So far so good for us, but we don’t think this location will yield as much as the western region did for us,” says Alagu Subramaniam, managing director of West in India.

The packaging industry is evolving with the introduction of new forms of packaging and increasing options for delivery. The trend in the injectables was that the patients were given injections by the doctors or the nurse in the hospital environment. Slowly, it is moving to the consumers’ end. The patients are now doing that without the help of the doctors or the nurse. This change in consumer behavior has played an extremely crucial role in the growth of this industry,” explains Subramaniam.

West exhibited its SelfDose patient controlled injector, an off-the-shelf delivery system that is ergonomically designed for optimal patient administration. In order to make it user-friendly, the company conducted many tests on the injector to make it easy to use, ensuring the safety of the patient and minimizing the need for validation. It also showcased NovaGuard SA Pro, a safety program that helps protect healthcare workers and patients from accidental needle-stick injury. The system can be deployed using a single-handed technique and was designed to prevent pre-activation during handling.

Most of these products are supplied to the Indian market from West’s fully automated commercial plant near Chennai, Tamil Nadu for the past four years. “We produce and supply our solutions globally. As compared to the global market, India is a bit cost sensitive. That is primarily why it takes more time for new technology to penetrate the Indian market. Indians start using the technology only once it is extensively used in the west and the price comes down. Affordability in India needs to improve and one of the biggest challenges for our company in introducing new products to at reasonable rates,” Subramaniam concludes.

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