Cold chain pharmaceutical distribution

Cold Chain Pharmaceutical Distribution

The pharmaceutical logistics market albeit a newcomer in cold chain logistics is a growing industry valued at $73bn as of this year. Of course, with the pandemic having given rise to an increase in demand for medication to PPE kits to vaccines, the industry in itself is definitely booming and  requires technical, safe, scientific and a solution based point to point transportation system. 

Minus Covid, the emergence of biologics, and an increased demand of medication ( most of which are temperature sensitive and controlled) is what made the pharmaceutical logistics market such a prominent player in the industry, which wasn’t a high consumer early on. 

With a number of players in the market offering cold chain logistic services, there seems to be a gap when it comes to providing smart solutions and quality service while still being cost effective and sustainable. Today, the pharma supply chain starts right from the production stage to the end consumer and certain elements must not be compromised.

Challenges 

  • In 2019, cold chain logistics accounted for more than 26% of the pharmaceutical industry, with an increase in the availability of a wide range of drugs, for various health ailments. 
  • Vaccines, being temperature sensitive can lose their quality and efficiency if not being transported at exactly the right temperature.
  • Biologics which are not transported at the right temperature, can pose serious health risks and can sometimes even be fatal if consumed.
  • Most cold chain logistics, especially reefer trucks, are not environment friendly and contribute to GHG emissions.
  • Reefer trucks, which work on unsustainable models, are not cost effective and can utilise up to 1 litre of fossil fuel an hour, proving to be expensive.
  • Reefer truck transportation which is engine dependent also can also be at risk for human error, in case the engine is turned off at any time.
  • Solutions not offering desired temperatures for ambient indian conditions. 
  • Current temperature monitoring is based on sim/GPRS technology which isn’t appropriate for monitoring last mile delivery on a large scale. 

Best practices – 

In India, the biggest challenge that the industry will have to overcome, is maintaining ideal temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees celsius. To maintain these temperatures, while also not compromising on cost, a great alternative would be to use PCM based cold chain solutions which are engine and fuel independent. 

Switching to alternatives such as PCM based cold chain solutions, helps replicate a specific temperature performance for the customer.  Tessol’s PCM heat exchangers are ideal for harsh and high ambient conditions, and maintain the temperature assigned in any contingency. 

At Tessol, our PCM heat exchangers are electrically charged as per the consignment requirement at the warehouse, and can operate for 8-12 hours a day, making them a perfect solution for last mile deliveries. 

Investing in data and AI, by using temperature monitoring systems, is another added benefit for cold chain logistics. Unfortunately, most monitoring systems are based on GPRS/Sim technology which isn’t appropriate for last mile delivery. At Tessol, our monitoring system, TAMsys is an asset management system which provides real time monitoring from the cold room to the last mile delivery boxes. Our system is operated by a small battery with a 6 months to 2 year battery life, requires no GPRS/Sim technology and requires no installation or maintenance. This provides constant data, and ensures product safety effortlessly. 

Vaccine distribution

With vaccines being the need of the hour, it is key to follow all protocols to ensure the consignment does not perish. 

At Tessol, for distribution from hospitals to mobile clinics, our multi use passive cooled boxes provide 10-12 hours of retention with optional remote monitoring capabilities. Alternatively, we also provide mobile distribution units (2-8degrees celsius to -20 degrees celsius) which are ideal for storage/distribution of the vaccine at the mobile clinic with multiple day transport and an easy recharge with a plug in facility. 

More so, it is important to train the transportation driver thoroughly to avoid human error and also build a skilled team. At the warehouse stage, the onboarding process should be quick and efficient. The truck door should be left open only while the consignment is being onboarded, post which, must be closed immediately. 

Final thoughts 

With the Indian pharmaceutical industry expecting to see a growth of 100% by 2021, adapting  to a more economical and sustainable solution for cold chain logistics is a must and cannot be compromised on.