Medical Logistics: Where Do Your Meds Come From?
The most complex logistical chain in the whole world today in the Pharma industry. High-tech logistics are not an expense anymore, but an investment and, we said earlier, people are really needing medicine, and they need them to be efficient. This way they can also bring down the health care costs and improve the patient care.
Getting the medicine to all the places they are needed means transport effort, and we know that lives can be a steak sometimes, so everything needs to work perfectly. So as a result, medical shipments have a set of rules that need to be followed. In order to protect the patient from some medical products that are unsafe, it is crucial that there are no weak links in the supply chain and that the storage and the transport are properly done, and in time. Don’t forget to access HCLM for more information.
We’ve written this article to make you understand where do the meds come from.
It’s a challenge
As history told us, the medicine was produced in a factory that was usually next to the distribution center, which means that it was closer to the patient and everything was local. However, the production networks have become bigger and global, so those supplying chains are now more complex. The companies have to take care of the transport costs and a logistic organization and they still have to deliver the same product in a safe way. It's actually a challenge to handle this perfectly.
First of all is all about good manufacturing practices, which help in the quality of the product. This practice also guarantees that the product is on its highest quality at the moment it leaves the factory and goes to the supply chain.
When it comes to the pharmaceutical companies, these good manufacturing practices (GDP for short), are controlled by the corporate compliance. So that’s an entirely new challenge - that the GDP standards will vary, depending on the region. Some of the products may pass the GBD in one specific region, but for some other different region, they are no good.
Coordination is everything
One of the requirements of the pharmaceutical stands in the good distribution practices, the thing that asks some questions, like whether the supply chain is cost-effective. Some people believe that this whole thing can be more cost-effective if they will enable e-commerce or simply directly to the patients or doctors.
Here is how it’s happening
First of all we need to talk about how the pharmaceutical manufacturers make the most out of modern machines and techniques to make the medicine, things that require supervision and care for the entire process from the research to making the packages.
Then they get on the road, and they have special tracks for the transport of the healthcare products. There are some sensors that monitor the products while they're on their way, and their job is to make sure that the cold chain is consistent.
There is also a possibility to go on the sea, if, of course, time is not a matter of life and death. They may use ships for transportation, and it's a very cost-effective alternative. The containers are directly loaded from the truck to the ship.
However, when the time is a matter of life and death, the medicines are sent by plane. This is a very difficult challenge - to monitor the air freight shipments and make sure that the temperature of the product remains constant on their way to the hospital.
Then they get at the warehouse, where the incoming shipments are sorted into different batches from large to small. Then, the boxes are stored for a short time, before they are actually dispatched to the next location or directly on their final destination - hospital or pharmacies.
Sometimes they also get to their location by hand. At the logistic centers, for delivery or mail-order to patients or doctors, medicines are put into other beans and registered one at a time before they continue their road.
Then they get to their destination. Pharmaceutical is put in their places. It’s a good thing to keep in mind that many hospitals and pharmacies received many delivers each day, so it's quite rare that the patient has to wait more than a few hours for their medicine.
Pharma supply chain can reduce cost, as technology now offers brand new ways to coordinate a certain task. Let's take a clear example: the sensor. Some time ago, there were more sensors used for a task, for example, a temperature one, another one that can track the location, another one that ensured the stability, and so on and so forth. However, right now, one can measure all of these things, plus many other control measures and for a lower cost.