Shippers and logistics suppliers must share information to build a more secure and efficient pharma supply chain, delegates at the Cool Chain Association (CCA) 6th Pharma and Biosciences Conference in Brussels, Belgium heard this week.
Cool chain partners must come out of their data silos to ensure the best service in a rapidly evolving pharma landscape, where patients expect tailored products to be delivered to their door, or even administered by a nurse.
“There will be a differentiated future – a much broader range of products, a natural split between the very cheap accessible products in the local supermarket and very personal products which are very high value,” said Niels van Namen, VP and Managing Director, Healthcare, Europe, UPS.
“There will be a much broader range of delivery channels, we are already delivering to the patient at home, and that can mean a nurse giving the injection.
“The new normal could be the delivery driver is also the nurse giving the injection.
“We need to have a physical infrastructure knitted together to make sure the product ends up with the patient, at home, at work, or in the hospital, safely, securely, and in the right condition.”
Pharma experts taking part in the two-day discussion all agreed that the cool chain was improving, but that fear of sharing information and embracing new ideas was an issue.
“Each part of the chain is doing much better in its own area, but the chain is not there yet, we are not good at sharing information,” said pharma logistics expert Yoram Eshel.
“Information must be shared between regulators, pharma agencies, forwarders, and all parts of the supply chain so that everyone can learn and improve.
“My message is do not be afraid to share information.
“The pharma industry together with all logistics stakeholders need to work hand in hand in order to improve product integrity and patient health and safety.”
Sessions at the CCA event also focused on facilities, insurance, security, and the benefits of the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) and Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certification.
Delegates agreed that increasing demands from regulators would force the cool chain industry’s hand to adopt certification as a “need to have, not a nice to have”.
Shippers in the audience said certification was already part of their process when choosing a lane.
“You also have to start with a proper facility and with training,” said Rinzing Wangyal, VP Planning North America, Worldwide Flight Services (WFS).
“It is important that we are transparent just as the disruptors are and we should learn from them.”
“Within three or four years all the paper will be gone, and we should focus on this and not fight against e-cargo.
“E-commerce is going to give us a lot of opportunities and ideas, and now is the time for us all to work together and work with them.”
Cool Chain Association Chairman Stavros Evangelakakis said the focus should also be on the last mile, especially in developing countries.
“As an industry, starting from the shipper all the way to the patient we should also think about the challenges faced by the people delivering on the last mile through jungles and up mountains,” he said.
“There are thousands of preventable deaths of infants under five years old every day and we should be part of the solution.”