Shippers and suppliers must share data to improve the supply chain

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Shippers and logistics suppliers must share information to build a more secure and efficient pharma supply chain, delegates were told at the Cool Chain Association’s 6th Pharma and Biosciences Conference in Brussels, Belgium.

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.

UPS vice president and managing director for healthcare in Europe, Niels van Namen says: “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.”

He adds there will be a range of delivery channels, with UPS already delivering to the patient at home, and 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 agreed that the cool chain is improving but the fear of sharing information and embracing new ideas was an issue.

Logistics expert Yoram Eshel says: “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. Information must be shared between regulators, pharma agencies, forwarders, and all parts of the supply chain so that everyone can learn and improve.”

He added that companies must not be afraid to share information, saying the pharma industry together with logistics stakeholders need to work together to improve product integrity.

Sessions also focused on facilities, insurance, security, and the benefits of Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) and Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certification, with delegates saying certificates could be essential.

Worldwide Flight Services vice president planning North America, Ringzing Wangyal says: “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.”

Cool Chain Association chairman, Stavros Evangelakakis says the focus should be on the last mile, saying: “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 adds: “There are thousands of preventable deaths of infants under five years old every day and we should be part of the solution.”