Nuffoods Spectrum India

The role of 'BIG DATA' from the Clinical World and claims for Nutraceuticals!

20 November 2014 | Column | By Dr V Prakash, FRSC; Distinguished Scientist of CSIR-India, Chairman, Advisory Board, NuFFooDS Spectrum

In today’s arena of Nutraceuticals several brands do come up overcoming barriers of answering safety and products which get prescribed and get into the streamline. This is difficult especially for those consumers who care for healthcare and empowered by “over faith” in claims that many people, including manufacturers, make. The question is how do we now segregate the good, bad and the more good!

There are several models that the world follows all around but India has to have a different model. The regulatory models will be too different when one thinks of the Pharma market especially in the prescription drug area. This one can almost extend to the healthcare impact in terms of the push and pull of the competitive pressures on the affordable Pharma/Nutra, market.

How does one look at this responsibility on part of the doctors on one hand, the regulators on the other hand and the health care plans with the consumer deciding the focus on the third hand? Sometimes even the trend of biosimilars, the broad biological therapies have been included into Nutraceuticals. This becomes a world of controversy apart from many of the claims that the regulators would have to consider under the larger umbrella of Food. Many problems do arise since what is lacking is data and its management. This is supposed to be one of the most important agenda which many industries have forgotten. In fact, it is the key driver for the market and there are a few marketing companies who have capitalised on it, but most of them do not care too much about it.

The ‘Big Data’ management is more important especially in a country with nearly 1.3 billion population with several products coming in and out, the stable ones, the temporary ones, fly by night products and also there are products where clarity is lacking in claims. Therefore analysts in the industry must today work on ‘Big Data’ to distill data for quality which is reliable, validated and integrated with a clear mandate of data governance so that we know where the trend is moving and what is happening. This will help in setting trends in the market for an overwhelming advantage of stability of innovations through the reach out of the market, especially when it is reinforced with innovative use of data with a clear purpose of making sure that the personalised care may tomorrow overtake the marketing of products to the masses!

Many a times in the developed world the craze for even the digital revolutions at hand through smart phones, tablets and other electronic devices which almost sets a time for personalised diet has changed so much because of information, the health applications and lifestyle management systems. In such a world of changing scenario capitalising on e-health through Nutraceuticals, Nutritionals and Naturals and Biosimilars does not seem to be very difficult. But perhaps that is where the validation of claims, that is where the ushering of the e-patient era and ensuring the role of the commercial movement of a product through the stability of an audience engagement into the reliable product line becomes the ‘Big Data’ opportunity of tomorrow for cluster stability.

The Nutraceutical industry must now work on ‘Big Data’. The time is already too late but nevertheless, if not started today the conglomeration of industries must realise that individually they will have difficulty in the competing world and the competitive market with “changing regulations”! This combined effort would give enough space for everybody to serve the needy but no space for anybody who is greedy. There is enough space in the market for all and even more than what can be handled today. Therefore it is time that proper effort is made in coupling the information and sharing with each other in terms of the various segments and then delivering a safe and complete product which is as safe as one claims without any side or ill effects to the customer. As “Team India, we have a responsibility for it and it is important this is delivered with the utmost dedication and utmost dependability so that the consumer does not lose the confidence. We must differentiate the good from the bad through a process which is reproducible and convincing and transparent to all.

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