As a result of numerous factors including the ongoing pandemic, supply chain disruptions continue to soar across all industries. Among the healthcare industry’s key concerns are the impacts on the pharmaceutical supply chain. And since the strength of the pharma supply chain is essential to delivering prescription and over-the-counter medicines, it is no surprise that the industry has been working tirelessly to resolve these issues.
A recent survey conducted by U.S. Pharmacopeia revealed that 95% of U.S. physicians believe that the pandemic has uncovered vulnerabilities in the pharma supply chain. Additionally, 83% of physicians feel that drug shortages have become a larger problem in recent years.
Along with challenges such as raw material and labor shortages, the pharma supply chain also faces unique constraints that many other industries do not, making it more difficult to continue normal operations in a time of global crisis.
- The pharmaceutical industry is subject to regulations imposed by FDA and other regulatory bodies, which can increase logistical challenges.
- The cold-storage requirements of some products introduce special storage and handling considerations.
- All medications have expiration dates, so as the supply chain slows down, delivering expired products becomes a risk.
Navigating the Challenges
Although some factors are out of the hands of pharmaceutical companies and distributors, there are key strategies companies can employ to build stronger and more resilient pharma supply chains:
- Perform risk assessments to identify potential problems in the production process before they occur
- Build capacity buffers and other redundancies into manufacturing processes
- Revamp management structures so that regional facility leaders are empowered to make decisions more quickly and autonomously
- Build reliance on multiple manufacturing sites so that local issues and labor shortages do not create bottlenecks
- Employ demand planning strategies to better forecast supply needs
- Invest in improved supply chain automation technologies, such as control towers and artificial intelligence
Pharmaceutical manufacturers may also consider partnerships with trusted companies to decrease their cost of business and improve efficiencies. For example, recyclable iGPS plastic pallets are easier to clean and sanitize due to their nonporous surfaces. They also flow more quickly through automated supply chain systems due to their uniform size and the absence of nails and splinters.
The pressure felt by the pharma supply chain and the medical industry is likely to continue with the increase in demand for telehealth and prescription-by-mail services. With hard work and updated best practices, drugmakers and their partners can set themselves up for success as they weather ongoing disruptions.
Pharmaceutical companies committed to enhancing their supply chain use iGPS plastic pallets for all their shipping needs. Our lightweight, recyclable plastic pallets are easy to sanitize and involve less costly, time-consuming cleanup. For more information, contact us at 1-866-557-0047, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.