Ensuring Regulatory Compliance and Sustainable Supply Chain Management
End-to-end digital visibility across the supply chain can be used to identify hotspots, support real-time decision making and improve demand forecasting. Pharma companies, acting in collaboration, can incentivise third-party organisations to set their own targets for improving their environmental footprint, both upstream and downstream from their own operations’
Pharmaceuticals are a critical component of modern healthcare, and ensuring their safety and efficacy is paramount. This is particularly true when it comes to logistics, where pharmaceuticals must be transported across great distances and under a variety of conditions. Regulatory requirements for logistics, such as Good Distribution Practice (GDP), have become increasingly stringent in recent years, requiring that pharmaceuticals be transported under specific temperature and humidity conditions.
Pharmaceutical logistics is estimated to be responsible for 2–3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is significant considering that the pharmaceutical industry as a whole accounts for 4.5% of global emissions. The main source of these emissions comes from Transportation, packaging and waste.
In this article, we will examine the importance of temperature control in pharmaceutical logistics, and how modern technology such as connected Monitoring as a Sservice (cMaaS) can help address some of the key challenges in this field.
Pharmaceutical Logistics Issues
It is challenging to determine the exact annual waste of medicine due to spoilage during logistics, as various factors contribute to the loss, and the data may vary across countries and supply chains. However, it is estimated that globally, around 15–20% of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals are wasted annually and 30% of the scrapped products are due to inadequate temperature control during transportation and storage, with a value of over $35 billion per year (Statista).
Estimating the exact number of lives lost annually due to poorly maintained medicines is challenging, as the impact can vary significantly across countries and medical conditions. Spoilage and degradation of pharmaceutical products can lead to reduced efficacy or increased risk of adverse effects, both of which can have severe consequences for patient health.
In developing countries, where access to quality healthcare and medicines is limited, the impact of improperly maintained medicines may be more pronounced. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that up to 35% of vaccines are wasted globally, primarily due to inadequate temperature control during transportation and storage. This waste contributes to millions of unvaccinated children and adults, increasing the risk of preventable diseases and associated morbidity and mortality.