Few markets are immune to supply chain changes due to ecommerce and direct-to-consumer shipping—including pharmaceuticals.
Kevin Lawler, vp of sales for Pelican BioThermal, identifies four ways logistics for pharmaceuticals might change in the near future.
1. With biologics…temperature-controlled requirements will evolve to support both raw materials as well as finished goods. “When it comes to cold chain for a patient-centric approach, stakeholders will need to first develop a detailed understanding of the requirements and then develop a plan and solution to support the cold-chain transport,” Lawler says. “The value of each therapy is typically quite high, so there is little tolerance for any error or excursion.”
2. Direct-to-patient shipping will be both ways. Patients will send samples that they collect back to the manufacturer, as well as receive drugs. Lawler says, “It’s a very personal, and very costly, treatment.”
3. Regarding sustainability, specifically for cold-chain distribution, Lawler says, “Many stakeholders are looking to balance their packaging by lane using a combination of reusable and single-use packaging.”
4. And as far as regulations go, not a lot of change is expected. “Although GPS, the Internet of things (IoT), and many other data-tracking analytics for high-value payloads are increasingly popular topics, from a life sciences perspective nothing from the FDA or Europe’s Good Distribution Practices (GDP) suggests new regulations are on the short-term horizon,” Lawler says. “However, we are hearing more about a potential new mandate from China FDA (CFDA) requiring shipments to be monitored for temperature along with GPS and other data points. Being the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market, a mandate such as this could increase the demand for this new technology worldwide and across industries.”
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