Guidance for Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Logistics Service Providers

Guidance for Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Logistics Service Providers
19 Sep, 2022

The guidance for pharmaceutical and vaccine logistics service providers comprises a collection of specifications for large-scale processing, transportation, and distribution of vaccines as well as other pharmaceutical, life science, and medical products.

Proper vaccine storage and handling during transit is very important as failing to do so can lower the vaccine's potency, resulting in patients' inadequate immune responses and subpar disease protection. Despite this fact, every year, mistakes in storage and handling lead to significant financial loss from wasted vaccines and the need to re-vaccinate many individuals.

It is very important for the vaccine and pharmaceutical logistics service providers to install the correct storage and monitoring equipment at their facilities and get them maintained and repaired as and when needed. There are several different types of vaccine storage units available, but the use of purpose-built units will save you from destroying any of the vaccines in the storage process.

Apart from using the correct storage units, the right placement of the unit is also important. It's crucial that the storage unit be placed in an area with good ventilation, leaving enough space between the unit, ceiling, and any wall to ensure good air circulation around the storage unit.

When dealing with pharmaceutical supplies, quality assurance is pivotal and cannot be compromised, especially when a specific temperature is to be maintained. Therefore, it's critical for business plans to minimise the effects of logistical limitations. There are many other requirements that need to be met in order to have a pharma transaction completed without affecting the quality of the vaccine. A few are listed below.

  • The entire supply chain should have undisturbed temperature control as per the manufacturer's requirements.
  • Temperature monitoring equipment needs to be installed everywhere throughout the supply chain.
  • The use of continuous temperature monitoring equipment for monitoring and recording temperatures while transporting vaccines is a must.
  • Having onboard specialised temperature-controlled infrastructure, facilities, equipment and dedicated resources such as specialist staff is mandatory.
  • The necessity of integrated multimodal transportation to improve delivery and the network.
  • integrated IT systems.
  • Managing priority customs clearance; physical inspection and/or sampling of products by customs should only occur in exceptional circumstances.
  • Documenting accurately and completely is obligatory.

Vaccine and pharmaceutical logistics service providers should always have an alternative storage facility. At some point, equipment will fail because of power outages, breakdowns, or normal wear and tear. You cannot, however, afford to lose your vaccines and other medical supplies.

There are a few operational risks involved too, like

  • The cargo capacity of aircraft is limited.
  • There's a shortage of reliable airlines serving rural locations and conflict zones;
  • insufficient ground handling equipment outside of major airports;
  • Lack of a coordinated strategy and information exchange, imprecise manufacturer instructions and specifications, ambiguous manufacturer specifications for temperature-controlled equipment, etc.

 

Final thought:

The pharmaceutical and vaccine logistics providers work on a very intense and critical segment of logistics which requires uninterrupted attention. The patient will be at the receiving end of any deviation from the recommended course of action. Apart from the few guiding principles listed above, the logistics team needs to improve themselves based on everyday hands-on experience.

 

Also read: How is the vaccine distribution going in and out of India?

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