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The Role of Cold Chain Logistics in the Pharmaceutical Industry

 A drug store employee at work

Understanding the role of cold chain logistics in the pharmaceutical industry can seem tricky at first glance. After all, transport of goods is always an issue, so why make a special note of it? And yet, medicine is such a uniquely necessary commodity that its transport does deserve special consideration. Especially considering how difficult cold chain logistics can be to pull off successfully.

The Temperature-Sensitive Medicine

For better or for worse, with the advancements made in the pharmaceutical industry, it seems that most of the newest and best medicine produced are extremely sensitive to temperature. Some need to be kept chilled,

Even some common meds are temperature-sensitive.

typically around two to eight degrees Celsius, while some need to be frozen to preserve their potency and effect instead of becoming harmful to the human body. And the only way to ensure that the medicine does remain at these temperatures even during transport is cold chain logistics. The role of cold chain logistics in the pharmaceutical industry can not be denied in the slightest. And with the increasing role of artificial intelligence in logistics and how much this helps optimize deliveries, it can be expected that cold chain logistics will only grow more important for the transport of temperature-sensitive medicine.

The Difficulties of Producing Medicine Locally

Cold chain logistics is crucial because it is not always possible to produce medicine locally. Quite a few

countries are entirely incapable of making most of the latest drugs or even most modern medicines in

some especially rare and severe cases. The only option left is to import them from outside their borders.

However, since we've already touched on how important it is to keep such medicine at the right

temperature, it is impossible to achieve this without advanced cold chain logistics.

Regulatory Laws

Because of how sensitive medicine is to temperature, many accidents occurred in the past. This

eventually led to a massive movement to improve the safety of medicine distribution. We have the

Good Supply Practice of Pharmaceutical Products laws in the US. The European Union has its Good

Distribution Practice laws. Whatever the exact name used is, both sets of rules aim to prevent defective

pharmaceutical products from slipping into the countries and states they affect. Which, naturally, makes

it impossible to do business here without robust and reliable cold chain logistics.

Specialized Medicine Needs

 Insulin, a medicine that relies on the role of cold chain logistics in the pharmaceutical industry
Insulin costs a lot and spoils quickly.

Additionally aggravating the situation is that the need for specialized medicine, such as insulin, which is

temp-sensitive, is only growing. Unfortunately, the number of people suffering from previously rare diseases is only increasing. At the same time, new pharmaceutical products that deal with illnesses and problems previously thought untreatable or without a specific medicine are also constantly being developed. This means that demand is growing exponentially along with the pressure on cold chain logistics of every pharmaceutical company.

Pharmaceutical Warehouses

 A temperature-controlled storage facility
The specialized warehouses are often expensive.

It is always best to remember that cold chain logistics do not deal solely with transport. Storage of goods is also a crucial part of the process. This is why the experts from Zippy Shell of Greater Philadelphia warn that before you set off to do business, be it in the moving, pharmaceutical, or logistics industry, securing storage space first is vital. The storage of medicine is often even more troublesome than transporting them, especially since they may need to be held in storage for a long time before being put on the market.

Online Healthcare

An increasingly popular service, and one which has posed additional challenges to the cold chain logistics industry, is online healthcare. Corona has made it evident that sometimes getting health advice from a distance is crucial. However, this still leaves the question of how to get the required medicine to the patient. Here is where cold chain logistics come into play once again. This time it has to bridge a gap between seller and consumer.

New Challenges

However, this is not the only challenge for the industry related to the pandemic. Word-wide logistics are in shambles after what Corona did to the world. And this mess is only starting to get better. Tentatively, at that. Ensuring that all pharmaceutical products remain in the best possible condition is a complex and costly challenge when your goods can be left in limbo for weeks or months while you wait for problems blocking your shipments to be solved. This has made it necessary to seriously look into the best practices for transportation optimization in the world of cold chain logistics.

Cost Concerns

Naturally, doing all of what we've discussed is not cheap. And the role of cold chain logistics in the pharmaceutical industry can only truly shine with enough funding supporting it. Finding an affordable yet reliable logistics company is difficult even at the best of times. And when they need to specialize in cold chain logistics on top of other criteria, it can be downright impossible, which contributes to making such ventures even more expensive. This, naturally, means that the costs of transporting their product cut into the profit margins of pharmaceutical companies. To recoup the losses, these companies drive up the price of medicine, forming an extremely vicious cycle that can eventually lead to people being unable to afford the treatment they need. Unfortunately, until cold chain logistics advance further and the worldwide logistics crisis is completely resolved, little can be done about this.

The Bottom Line

We hope that you now understand the role of cold chain logistics in the pharmaceutical industry and why this is so important a bit better. This is what keeps medicine on the shelves of drug stores worldwide.


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