In the capital city of Europe the Cool Chain Association (CCA) invited cool chain providers, pharmaceutical companies and certification bodies to the workshop “Cool Pharma”.
Most CCA members and many new faces followed the call and met in Brussels to discuss the needs of temperature controlled transport of pharmaceuticals for two days. And there is a demand: the growth of pharma sales is tremendous. It grew from $298 billion in 1998 to $602 billion in 2005. But the Pharmaceutical Industry demands further quality improvements in the handling and transportation of the pharma products, for example unbroken cool chain, careful handling and last but not least more transparency in the logistic process etc. To reach that quality level of service the industry needs “logistic standards” – similar to the requirements in the “Perishable Industry”. Consequently, adopting the CCA CCQI Master Tables for the Pharmaceutical Industry could be a logic solution.
The Cool Chain Association, together with the PTSP (Perishables and Temperature Sensitive Products) Industry and Germanischer Lloyd, has been successful in developing new standards for the transportation and handling of PTSP - with the objective to improve the quality within the PTSP logistics as well as reducing waste and claims. The Cool Chain Quality Indicators (CCQI) are a complete set of Master Tables that cover all the steps of the individual participants in the cool chain logistics from A to Z. Each activity within the chain is covered separately and in a clear and explanatory way.
Service Providers that apply the CCQI Master Tables can in turn obtain the CCQI Certification – a “quality stamp” of EXCELLENCE in the PTSP logistics. What still is missing is the integration of the needs for the transport of pharmaceutical products. Several guidelines and standards for pharma products have already been generated by different groups such as PLF (Pharma Logistics Forum), PDA (Parental Drug Association), WHO (World Health Organization), IATA (International Air Transport Association) and the EU with their GDP (Good Distribution Practices) Standard. Therefore it was necessary to also compare these standards with the CCQIs, bringing all these groups with different business knowledge together at one table and unite the knowledge of all into a separate standard.
Panalpina, being sponsor of the event, Bayer Healthcare and LifeConEx (a joint venture between DHL Danzas Air & Ocean and Lufthansa Cargo) led a panel discussion where the similarities and differences between food and pharma were presented. Also discussed was the question of what the pharma industry expects especially from their supplier and of course from the CCA. The panel recommended to develop comprehensive quality agreements and to utilize technological advances to further enhance the need for full transparency. Furthermore there is a strong demand to develop common jurisdiction which regulates global air transport. Introducing relevant training in “Temperature Controlled Airfreight Handling” was also one point of the long list of recommendations.
A presentation on the ”airline’s view on the logistics of the pharmaceutical industry” was given by Cargolux Airlines. The need for the right process and the need to create awareness about the pharma products within the logistic network was expressed strongly. It is necessary to understand the needs of the customer and to simplify the process for the people handling the goods, while still maintaining the specific needs of the pharma industry.
A further highlight was the presentation by GSK – GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, who presented an example on how a vaccine manufacturer manages his cold chain distribution. GSK expressed what their expectations from the suppliers are and what limitations they face. This led to a discussion where the attendees exchanged the views to understand what the future cold chain transport could be like.
The CCA would like to follow the demand of not only their members but also the Industry in general in order to find a standard that would unite the parties and harmonize the cool chain of pharmaceuticals. For this the CCA will form a working committee “Cool Pharma” to generate such a standard during the next month.
The conclusions of this successful CCA event was summarized by the fact, that it’s extremely important for all the parties in the logistic chain to work closely together, combined with open and frank discussions on where and how improvements of the flow of pharma products from manufacture to client can be made;
Let’s work together and harmonize the cool chain!
Posted on October 22, 2008
by Frank Welten