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The times are changing and the pharmaceutical industry's supply chain needs to be ready for upheaval.
PWC's Pharma 2020 report predicts that by the year 2020, the majority of medicines will be specialist therapies focused on prevention rather than treatment. Designed for small scale use, these drugs will utilise more sophisticated direct-to customer distribution channels. While manufacturing is going to be crucial in managing these new demands, it's the supply chain, linking the lab with the marketplace that will make or break the industry's future. So what will these new pressures be and how can they be tackled?
Importance of temperature control
The rise of the patient-centric treatments requires an increase in the number of gene and cell based therapies. This in turn means the need for a temperature-controlled supply chain, which can support raw materials as well as finished medicines, will become paramount. Patients will also likely need to transport blood or DNA samples directly to drug manufacturers to ensure functioning, personalised treatments. Putting in place a well-adapted temperature-controlled packaging system is the only way to ensure product integrity and protect genetic material from damage.
Temperature control during shipping is particularly challenging due to the use of pallet materials. Traditional wooden pallets can absorb water leading to warping and damage to the contained product. As the need for temperature-control becomes greater, many pharmaceutical companies will look to using water-resistant plastic shipping pallets.
Pharmaceutical companies already work within strict environmental controls, however as the demand for greener consumption grows it's likely that these regulations will become even tighter. Restrictions on energy usage, water consumption and waste production are expected. Efforts to drive down overall carbon footprint will likely see a demand for more sustainable processes and recyclable materials used throughout pharmaceutical transportation and shipping operations.
How can plastic help?
Shipping pallets are essential to all pharmaceutical supply chains. As a universal enabler for easy movement of goods, it is important that the materials used reflect and support the objectives of the industry at large. Plastic shipping pallets offer a number of benefits to the adapting pharmaceutical industry:
- Water-resistant and retain their structure at below freezing temperatures
- Working lifespan of up to 10 times that of wood pallets.
- They are recyclable.
- Sealed surfaces make them easy to clean to the highest standards of hygiene.
To find out more about how plastic pallets could support your supply chain adaptations contact the Eco Pallets team today.