How to win in last-mile pharmaceutical delivery

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Issue Month:January 2023

The global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine underlined that the stakes are high when it comes to the safe storage and distribution of pharmaceutical deliveries. When you consider pharmaceutical products from a supply chain perspective, from lab to the last mile, these products have a long journey ahead as they go through several modes of transportation before reaching their destination.

Last mile pharmaceutical delivery in the cold chain starts after the products reach the final transportation hub before journeying directly to the end consumer. This ‘final mile’ can often be the most complex part of the delivery process, depending on local conditions, with products sometimes requiring delivery to remote, complicated locations. The challenge comes when pharmaceutical products require transportation and storage options that are temperature controlled.

Ensuring optimum temperature and humidity conditions in an efficient and seamless cold supply chain is the key to preserving the quality and integrity of these sensitive goods and safeguarding the patient. Every medicine is valuable and must be handled with the utmost care to ensure safe delivery.

How to manage the cold chain

With the growth and development of the biopharmaceutical industry, more and more medicines will need to be supplied through the cold chain in the future – thus, requiring more specialised packaging (thermal advanced containers). With industry standards requiring a minimum 120-hour temperature compliance in any environment, containers on the market are equipped to handle temperatures as low as -80°c up to +20°c shipments.

With medical products at major risk of spoilage, these containers are handled by expert cold chain shipping providers who have the technology, resources, and network in place assuring products arrive on time, undamaged and with no temperature excursions.

The importance of the right solution in last-mile pharmaceutical delivery

Transporting sensitive pharmaceutical products, life-saving medicines and vaccines in a robust and reliable environment is extremely important until the ‘last mile’ to guarantee product integrity and patient safety.

Pharmaceutical products are sensitive to light, temperature, humidity, bacteria and a host of other factors, but for the most part these aspects are easier to control in the first stage of the supply chain. Control, however, becomes more difficult during the final stage when products are transported to the end consumer and encounter challengers such as human error, power cuts, restricted infrastructure, and other localised difficulties.

Factoring in the high value of pharmaceutical goods, their perishable nature and susceptibility to temperature changes, manufacturers require not just optimised networking, but assurance of product integrity for patients and businesses alike. It is here that the choice of the most appropriate cold chain solution for last-mile delivery makes all the difference.

Passive containers manage control

Tower’s advanced, passive temperature controlled KTEvolution offers protection, visibility and security in a small box. Easily carried by 1 or 2 people in both 26-litre and 57 -litre options, the KTEvolution strikes the optimum balance between high-performance, durability and improved weight. Thus, the KTE is ideal for the growing demand for smaller shipments such as direct-to-patient, samples shipment and last-mile deliveries.

With the potential for full connectivity through integrated IoT solutions ideal for location, temperature, shock and impact monitoring, the KTEvolution range ensures the stability of reloaded products at temperatures of <-60°C (ultra-cold), -20°C (frozen), +5°C (chilled) and +20°C (controlled room temperature).

Using phase changing material and vacuum isolation panels technologies ensure product are kept as the required temperature for at least 120 hours without the use of external power or human intervention – decreasing risk tremendously.

With Bluetooth Low Energy technology, the integrated data loggers communicate wirelessly, transmitting data to the cloud throughout its journey. In this way, the technology ensures visibility, door-to-door cargo compliance, and provide a clear workflow.

Passive solutions like the KTEvolution developed specifically for smaller shipments, are key to managing last-mile deliveries in the pharmaceutical cold chain. Tower’s containers arrive pre-conditioned, ready to load and transport, without requiring any electricity or manual intervention from the time that the products are loaded, until they are delivered. This makes them reliable for last-mile delivery as it can be easily transferred from the aeroplane to a smaller vehicle to access even the more remote locations.

Tower has a comprehensive approach, invaluable logistics expertise and excellent service, and has long established itself as a robust, reliable, reusable partner for the global import and export of the most difficult-to-transport pharmaceutical products.

For more information on Tower’s last-mile pharmaceutical delivery services, click here:

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