FROM MAGAZINE: Ensuring healthcare cargo is in safe hands
From shipping pharma products in the 2-8°C range, to shipping them at ‘‘body temperature’ (around +37°C), ‘controlled ambient temperature’ (15-25°C), or at extremely cold temperatures such as -20°C, and in even lower cryogenic temperatures (-80°C and -192°C) – pharma logistics has come a long way.
An impetus for the latest generation of high-performing packaging products comes as the pharma industry continues to grow at a significant rate with an estimated global worth of $400 billion by 2020, according to the World Heath Organization. What’s more, as temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products are increasingly being shipped globally to more remote regions, there is an even greater demand for innovative solutions being placed on the temperature-control packaging industry.
“There is an ongoing increasing global demand for temperature controlled packaging solutions, in particular in the high end segment like active/electric containers or passive PCM (phase change material) boxes. This is mainly driven by stronger global regulations and by the fact that almost all new pharmaceuticals are biotech and temperature sensitive. There are more and more PAD (pallet accepting devices) solutions available with a global coverage, and pharmaceutical shippers and their forwarders have today a better choice between the different solutions, according to the individual lane risk assessment,” observes Andreas Seitz, managing director, DoKaSch Temperature Solutions, which runs a fleet of the well-recognized active cool containers Opticooler RAP (5 pallet) and RKN (1 pallet).
“The requirements to become a supplier in this industry are increasing significantly as pharma clients are looking for smart solutions – combining thermal protection but also the data to make faster decisions for product clearance, reducing total cost and CO2 is becoming more and more important,” believes Richard Ettl, CEO of temperature-controlled container provider SkyCell.
Also, the advancement of new drug development includes the increase in more fragile and temperature sensitive pharmaceutical products. As Steve Brabbs, global technology leader for cold chain, Dupont Safety & Construction puts it, “More sophisticated medicines would require more cold chain protection. These large molecular therapies will be stable only if they are stored and transported at a controlled temperature range. So there is a lot of opportunity and there is going to be more opportunity going into the future.” DuPont is the manufacturer of Tyvek® Cargo Covers, an innovative pallet blanket for the pharmaceutical industry. Tyvek® Cargo Covers have helped protect the health of millions of patients worldwide by providing proven protection against temperature excursions, rain, dust, pollen, bird droppings, insects and other sources of contamination for pharmaceutical shipments.
Temperature restrictions when transporting such pharma payloads bring in their own challenges. Apart from this, pharma being shipped to emerging markets, where extreme temperature ranges need to be dealt with, pose another concern. Various pharmaceutical compounds, utilised within the sector, are developed under certain temperature control conditions or designed to be stored at specific temperatures to maintain their stability.