Pharmaceutical supply chains have a number of unique characteristics that affect the nature and severity of supply chain risks. Whilst their supply chains tend to be relatively simple, with few plants and a small number of suppliers, they are often concentrated with one or two main plants supplying the whole world’s demand.
Providing high quality products, ensuring patient safety and compliance with new regulations are just some of the challenges facing the Life Sciences and Healthcare sector. For example Bio-pharmaceutical products require temperature management and control throughout the entire supply chain from manufacturer to patient. They also have a high risk of counterfeiting due to the products high value. This has contributed to making supply chain security and product identification key concerns in the sector.
These complexities have driven the life sciences sector to develop highly refined logistics approaches with dedicated infrastructure and cold chain services managing the ambient temperature. Specialized thermal packaging, and advanced technologies including near-real-time or just-in-time (JIT) temperature logging help to prevent delays in the supply chain.
At the same time high inventory levels are being reduced and total cost approaches are being developed to minimize the risk of disruption. Smart manufacturers and providers are also operating a differentiated supply chains for specific products, geographies and channels.