Pharmaceutical logistics: comprehensive service for industry
What is pharmaceutical logistics?
In general terms, pharmaceutical logistics is related to the handling, transport and chain management of multiple and varied products, the vast majority of which require specific conditions in their logistic treatment.
As indicated by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Healthcare Products, pharmaceutical products range from medicines and all their typologies, healthcare products and medical and surgical instruments, to cosmetic and perfume products, raw materials, biotechnological materials or biopharmaceuticals.
The aim is therefore to meet the logistical specifications for a wide range of products, some of which require controlled temperature conditions from the production or processing phase to the moment of consumption.
What pharmaceutical logistics does the industry need?
According to data provided by Farmaindustria and Pharmatech, organisations that group together the pharmaceutical industry, there are 212 national and multinational pharmaceutical companies in Spain, with an annual production value of over 15.2 billion euros. Of this amount, more than 10,600 million euros are exported.
It should be noted that 48% of Spanish exports of pharmaceuticals by air are concentrated in Catalonia, and that a high percentage of these go to third countries. Furthermore, this type of merchandise usually has a high added value and therefore requires very precise pharmaceutical logistics.
“The Spanish pharmaceutical industry exports products worth over 10.6 billion euros”
These production and export figures for pharmaceutical products are associated with very specific logistical needs, from packaging and transport, especially if the goods require a specific temperature, to handling, storage and final distribution.
For all these reasons, the industry requires the operator to develop pharmaceutical logistics that implies having complete visibility and traceability of the supply chain, having highly optimised distribution networks and adequate facilities and vehicles for the storage, transport and distribution of pharmaceutical products.
Complex pharmaceutical logistics due to new regulations
According to the European Medicines Agency, the European Union’s legal framework for pharmaceutical products guarantees high standards of quality and safety and promotes measures that encourage innovation and competitiveness.
Over the last few years, other factors and challenges have emerged that require the logistics operator to have a higher level of specialisation and professionalisation in pharmaceutical logistics. An example of this is compliance with the new European guidelines on Good Distribution Practices (GDP), which aim to guarantee the quality and integrity of medicines through adequate control of their transport and distribution.
There are also Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) which stipulate that manufacturers of pharmaceutical products must ensure full compliance, from start to finish, with government regulations concerning their products throughout the supply chain.
Therefore, the pharmaceutical industry requires its logistics service provider to strictly control the temperature in the transport of the goods that require it, which can vary depending on the type of product – between 2 and 8 degrees, between 15 and 25 degrees, for example – as well as compliance with hygiene standards and monitoring of the logistics operation from start to finish.
“The logistics operator is required to have a high level of specialisation and must comply with new European guidelines such as Good Distribution Practice, GDP”
On the other hand, and with regard to safety and traceability that will affect pharmaceutical logistics, in February 2019 Directive 2011/62/EU will enter into force, a regulation that aims to strengthen the legal chain against counterfeit medicines. This system, through the inclusion of two safety devices on the external packaging of medicines (unique identifier and anti tampering device), will make it possible to verify the authenticity of each medicine dispensed, as well as that it has not been tampered with.
This new regulation, which will be compulsory from February next year, will require the logistics operator to be prepared to implement, together with the pharmaceutical industry, a complex serialisation programme which will involve, among other things, processing large volumes of data in real time in an efficient and secure manner.
Pharmaceutical logistics is therefore very complex, as the operator has to guarantee the safety of the products – traceability, temperature chain, sterility, protection against theft or counterfeiting – in a global market characterised by the fact that the industry produces at one point but sells its products, some of which have a high economic value, all over the world.
“In Logsiber we have a high level of specialization and we comply with the new European guidelines, such as the Good Distribution Practice, GDP”
The safety and traceability of the logistics chain must also be guaranteed from the supply of raw materials to the manufacturing industry to the arrival of the finished product at the end user.
And it is important not to forget that all these specific operations of pharmaceutical logistics must be able to be carried out in any mode of transport: air, sea and land.
Logisber, comprehensive service for the pharmaceutical industry
The key factors to comply with a good pharmaceutical logistics and that the operator must offer go through the precise planning of the logistics and supply chain in time and costs, as well as security, both in the control of documents and in the environmental conditions to which a product is subjected.
Quality is another important aspect; it must be met in all services, from transport and handling to labelling and packaging and distribution.
Another relevant factor is that the professionals who intervene in the pharmaceutical logistics chain are trained and qualified to comply with the demanding regulations of the industry and to guarantee good practices in the chain.
And, of course, the traceability and monitoring of the goods from their collection to their delivery, as well as providing customers with suitable facilities and equipment, such as warehouses with space for products that require different environmental conditions, containers and isothermal vehicles, among others.
Finally, it is essential for the pharmaceutical industry that the operator can take care of reverse logistics services for the return of expired or damaged products.
At Logisber we provide all these services and bring added value to the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to placing its products and materials in any market worldwide, reducing risks and optimising logistics operations.
Logisber’s pharmaceutical logistics meets the specific needs of any product or merchandise (medicines, active ingredients, raw materials, cosmetic products, etc.), from transport, document management and customs formalities, to the design and traceability of shipments, control of temperature, humidity and refrigeration, physical protection of the product, picking and packaging and verification of the multimodal logistics chain.
“Logisber brings added value to pharmaceutical logistics; we place products in any market, reducing risks for the industry and optimizing processes”.
Safety, rigour, compliance with regulations and availability of approvals are added values that Logisber offers to the pharmaceutical industry.
Logisber’s team of professionals offers technical and customized solutions for companies in this sector, and accompanies them throughout the process of internationalization and location of their products in local and international markets, thanks to its precise pharmaceutical logistics.
Logisber success stories
An important pharmaceutical laboratory entrusted Lobisber with an operation to bring a consignment of paracetamol from the interior of China to the headquarters in Barcelona.
Logisber designed and managed the entire logistics chain that the product required and, as it was in possession of the GDP Good Distribution Practice certification, it complied with the highest safety and traceability standards.
Throughout the entire chain, from loading at origin to unloading at destination, Logisber controlled the temperature of the goods. Likewise, and through our website, the customer had complete traceability of its product and was able to check that the medicine was in perfect condition throughout the logistics chain.
Customs and regulations, International Trade