For pharma to grow, bet­ter lo­gis­tics needed

Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals in­dus­try has a huge po­ten­tial to grow with the vis­i­bil­ity and stan­dard­i­s­a­tion in the sup­ply chain man­age­ment. CARGOTALK ex­plores the chal­lenges and re­quire­ments of pharma ship­ment.

Cargo Talk - - Front Page - Di­rec­tor– Sup­ply Chain Uni­world Lo­gis­tics Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor East West Freight Car­ri­ers

Ac­cord­ing to the In­dia Pharma 2020 re­port by Mckin­sey, the In­dian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals mar­ket will grow to US$55 bil­lion by 2020, with a po­ten­tial to reach US$70 bil­lion in an ag­gres­sive growth sce­nario. In a pes­simistic growth sce­nario char­ac­terised by reg­u­la­tory growth and eco­nomic slow­down, pharma mar­ket is ex­pected to reach US$35 bil­lion. The rapidly grow­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try is in­sist­ing pharma lo­gis­tics providers to make sup­ply chain ef­fi­cient and trans­par­ent. As per the re­ports, the lo­gis­tics ser­vice providers need to in­vest more heav­ily in in­fra­struc­ture, tech­nol­ogy, pack­ag­ing, to name a few to reach US$55 bil­lion by 2020. And, for this there is a dire need to look at the chal­lenges that ser­vice providers and ship­pers are fac­ing and what they want from each other to make the ship­ment suc­cess­ful.

Ni­har Parida

When asked about the chal­lenges while trans­port­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Ni­har Parida, Di­rec­tor– Sup­ply Chain, Uni­world Lo­gis­tics, says, “The ma­jor pa­ram­e­ters while trans­port­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals is its pack­ing and han­dling. The most cru­cial point is to en­sure that the spec­i­fied drugs move un­der its spec­i­fied tem­per­a­ture. To­day un­for­tu­nately this cru­cial point is com­pro­mised due to the cost in­volved in main­tain­ing the cold chain. The lack of knowl­edge on its ef­fect looks like the main is­sue. More­over, some are also com­pro­mis­ing it to keep their cost un­der con­trol.”

All tem­per­a­ture-sen­si­tive phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts, in­clud­ing blood plasma, tablets, medicines and anaes­thet­ics, must be kept within dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­ture ranges in com­pli­ance with in­dus­try and reg­u­la­tory guide­lines, to en­sure the prod­ucts re­tain their in­tegrity and are pro­tected from degra­da­tion due to ex­po­sure to heat and cold dur­ing the trans­porta­tion process.

Joy John “There are quite a few chal­lenges to en­sure cost ef­fec­tive trans­porta­tion of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. The mod­ern day re­quire­ment of the cus­tomer is spe­cific equip­ments and cold chain stor­age fa­cil­i­ties at all tran­sit points and dur­ing trans­porta­tion. Lastly there should be har­monised pro­ce­dures and co­op­er­a­tion among cold chain part­ners,” in­forms Joy John, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, East West Freight Car­ri­ers.

“The se­cond cru­cial point is se­cu­rity of the prod­ucts. It is not only safe­guard­ing from spu­ri­ous drugs but also en­sur­ing that the prod­uct is not con­tam­i­nated or cross con­tam­i­nated due to wrong han­dling or bundling it with cer­tain prod­ucts dur­ing tran­sit. This can af­fect the qual­ity of the prod­ucts,” no­tify Parida.

“The least we lo­gis­tics ser­vice providers can ex­pect from man­u­fac­tures is proper plan­ning and pack­ag­ing of the pharma ship­ments for smooth and safe car­riage with the least tran­sit time. Any spe­cial han­dling can be in­ti­mated to the for­warder to en­sure the ship­ment reaches the con­signees ware­house as per the re­quire­ment,” tells John.

Ac­cord­ing to Parida, what lo­gis­tics peo­ple re­quire from the man­u­fac­turer are clear train­ing and aware­ness of the prod­uct, com­plete pa­per works as per the laws of the land, “im­por­tance of time as it is very cru­cial while main­tain­ing cold chain, proper pack­ag­ing to main­tain se­cu­rity and rea­son­able cost re­duc­tion by un­der­stand­ing what we in­vest in giv­ing the best ser­vice re­quired”.

What the peo­ple in lo­gis­tics re­quire from the man­u­fac­turer are clear train­ing and aware­ness of the prod­uct, pa­per work.

Time is cru­cial too

The mod­ern day re­quire­ment of the cus­tomer is spe­cific equip­ments, cold chain stor­age fa­cil­i­ties at all tran­sit points and dur­ing

trans­porta­tion Tem­per­a­ture ex­cur­sions

at cus­toms bonded fa­cil­i­ties, APEDA, needs to be im­proved where two to eight de­gree fa­cil­i­ties for un­load­ing

the ma­te­rial

Bharat Bhushan, DGML­o­gis­tics, Ju­bi­lant Generic, stressed on qual­ity ser­vice in­clud­ing de­liv­er­ies as per the goods dis­tri­bu­tion prac­tices (GDP) by the lo­gis­tics ser­vice providers. Ac­cord­ing to Bhushan, lo­gis­tics providers are not fully equipped in de­liv­er­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, they need to move ex­tra mile in or­der to main­tain the de­sired tem­per­a­ture by way of as­tute plan­ning with the air­lines as per the GDP guide­lines.

What is re­quired is

ad­vance­ment of in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and avail­abil­ity of in­for­ma­tion for the cargo in tran­sit. It is crit­i­cal to pro­vide this

Ron­nie Chat­ter­jee, SRE Ex­port Lo­gis­tics, In­dia Gly­cols, em­pha­sised on se­cu­rity of prod­uct, con­trol­ling tem­per­a­tures for the en­tire move­ment and data record­ing fa­cil­ity and cost re­duc­tion but not ef­fect­ing in open­ing ad­di­tional loop­holes in sup­ply chain. “From fac­tory till the prod­uct reaches APEDA at air­port and even at trans­ship­ment point, the de­pend­abil­ity in­creases on third party. It is nec­es­sary to mon­i­tor tem­per­a­ture dur­ing the en­tire move­ment, hence data

CT BUREAU What do the ship­pers de­mand?

record­ing fa­cil­ity should be pro­vided for the in tran­sit cargo even though if the ship­ment is mov­ing un­der pas­sive cargo. How many air­lines main­tain the tem­per­a­ture as re­quested dur­ing in-flight till the time there are rel­e­vant doc­u­mented de­tails re­gard­ing the same avail­able? The ser­vice providers have to be ac­count­able for the same with­out any stip­u­la­tion,” Chat­ter­jee added.

Echo­ing sim­i­lar views, Bhushan said, “Tem­per­a­ture ex­cur­sions at cus­toms bonded fa­cil­i­ties, APEDA, needs to be im­proved where two to eight de­gree fa­cil­i­ties for un­load­ing the ma­te­rial are not avail­able. They should fix ex­tra data log­gers to pro­vide read­ings af­ter ev­ery 15 min­utes of in­ter­val as and when re­quired by the ex­porters. Se­condly, en­vi­ro­tain­ers/uni­cool­ers/ opti cool­ers should be al­lowed to stiff in the cargo at fac­tory premises in or­der to main­tain the tem­per­a­ture through­out the tran­sit.”

On the other side, Chat­ter­jee notes, “The ser­vice providers are fairly ad­e­quate to han­dle tempsen­si­tive cargo, what is re­quired is fur­ther ad­vance­ment of in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and avail­abil­ity of in­for­ma­tion for the cargo in tran­sit. It is very crit­i­cal to pro­vide and equally im­por­tant for time bound, tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled ship­ment. They must en­hance the real time in­for­ma­tion shar­ing with the car­rier and LSP and the ship­per. Cur­rently there is no such sys­tem to look into.”

Lever­ag­ing the po­ten­tial

In­dia is one of the ma­jor vac­cine ex­porters to the world. In­dian pharma in­dus­try has evolved to be a world leader in pro­duc­tion of generic drugs and that too at a com­pet­i­tive price. By 2020, In­dia is likely to be among the top three phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal mar­kets by in­cre­men­tal growth and sixth largest mar­ket glob­ally in ab­so­lute size.

Ac­cord­ing to John, the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try growth is set to be the fastest in the com­ing decade and air freight will be a ma­jor trans­port mod­ule for this in­dus­try. “In­dia has be­come a pharma hub and has a high po­ten­tial of growth. All the lead­ing health or­gan­i­sa­tions are look­ing for­ward to In­dia for man­u­fac­tur­ing and sup­ply of medicines to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries as well as de­vel­oped coun­tries. Govern­ment has to think about giv­ing bet­ter ben­e­fits to the In­dian Pharma com­pa­nies so that ex­ports can grow,” notes Parida.

“The air­port han­dlers and the ser­vice providers will have to en­sure that their fa­cil­i­ties have ca­pac­ity to store phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals ship­ment as per the re­quire­ment and de­mands of the ship­per and the con­signee.

The chal­lenge is not only stor­age but also trans­porta­tion of the same from the ware­house to the air­craft and also en­sures the tem­per­a­ture re­quired main­tained in tran­sit and at the desti­na­tion air­port till fi­nal de­liv­ery,” adds John.

By 2020, In­dia is likely to be among the top three phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal mar­kets by in­cre­men­tal growth and

sixth largest mar­ket glob­ally in ab­so­lute size

Deputy Gen­eral Man­ager - Lo­gis­tics Ju­bi­lant Generic

Bharat Bhushan

SRE Ex­port Lo­gis­tics In­dia Gly­cols

Ron­nie Chat­ter­jee

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