5 key steps for building a secure cold chain to maintain vaccine and therapeutic stability 

Cold chain image courtesy of Thermo Fisher Scientific

COVID-19 vaccine development and rollout were crucial to gaining control of the pandemic. When the success of these efforts became dependent on the ability to maintain lower than typical temperatures during distribution, the importance of reliable and continuous cold chain solutions for mRNA-based formulations was thrust into the spotlight. Beyond pandemic mitigation measures and outside of COVID-19 control, vaccines and therapeutics are increasingly leveraging the power of temperature-sensitive cells, proteins, and nucleic acids in preventing and treating disease. With the pharmaceutical industry shifting toward using biological molecules as medicine, there’s a need to emphasize cold chain logistics and access to innovative, reliable cryogenic solutions.

Pharmaceutical products containing biologically active components often require adherence to special …

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How direct-to-patient can impact pharma supply chains

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In the wake of COVID-19, telemedicine has become the only means for delivering patient care for many physician groups. As healthcare providers adapted to treating patients virtually, patients likewise adapted to disrupted routines. For those dependent on prescription medication to treat or manage a medical condition, “going to the pharmacy” was an errand replaced by curbside pickup, delivery service or mail order.

Necessity is the mother of adoption

With no other options, the physician-patient interaction went digital after years of discussion about the promise of telehealth. CMS approval of pilot hospital-at-home programs accelerated adoption further. These alternative care sites kept patients free from the risks of hospital-acquired infections and reserved empty beds for possible surges. Program results largely demonstrated that unchanged patient outcomes outside of the hospital se…

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Aphena reveals plans for third-party logistics division

Aphena Pharma Solutions has announced the launch of a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Division at its campus in Cookeville, Tenn. The pharmaceutical packaging and manufacturing company plans to complete the new division by the end of the year and serve new clients in early 2022. The 3PL unit will cater to the prescription pharmaceutical market, focusing on generics, OTC drugs, and nutraceutical/homeopathic medicines.

In addition to distribution services, the 3PL division will offer accounting services, cold chain services, controlled room temperature storage, and DEA schedule II (vault) and DEA schedule III-V storage. Additionally, the company is pursuing NABP’s Drug Distributor Accreditation.

Last week, the company announced that it had named Troy Blodgett the vice president and general manager of its 3PL division.

At the start of the year, the company announced that it was nearly finished with a $21 million, 500,000 ft2 expansion.


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How silica can support cold chain logistics

Aerosil-based vacuum insulation panels feature multiple layers of a special film for ideal insulation against hot and cold temperatures.

In the early days of the pandemic, the subarctic storage requirements for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines sparked renewed interest in the cold chain. One potentially overlooked element of the cold chain is silica, according to the specialty chemicals company Evonik. The company states that its Aerosil fumed silica supports passively cold transport units using cool packs or dry ice. Specifically, fumed silica supports passive cooling without an external energy source. The company synthesizes its vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) lined with Aerosil in a 1200° C hydrogen flame. VIPs filled with fumed silica offer substantial insulation with a thin layer of material. Fumed silica–based materials are thus suitable for use in insulating containers or boxes for temperature-controlled transport of g…

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How end-to-end visibility and machine learning can safeguard the vaccine supply chain

Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

For any vaccine, some degree of waste is expected. The problem is inspiring supply-chain companies to explore new technologies that can address a longstanding struggle.

“Before COVID-19, we often saw waste of about 8–10%,” said Ranjeet Banerjee, CEO of Cold Chain Technologies, which provides insulated packaging for drugs and biologics.

A 2019 World Health Organization report citing 2002 data concluded that between 5% and 50% of routine vaccines are wasted.

In some cases, entire pallets or freezers of vaccines are tossed out due to storage unit malfunctions that may have impacted only some vaccine vials.

In general, the biopharma industry loses roughly $35 billion each year as a result of cold-chain, according to a 2019 IQVIA report.

COVID-19 vaccines up the stakes. “COVID vaccine has ten times the complexity,” Banjree said. Not only are a variety of vaccines availabl…

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It’s time to rethink pharma supply chains

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Global supply chains have arguably seen more disruption in the past year than they have seen in decades.

Pharmaceutical supply chains were especially vulnerable in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting a rethink of supply chain management for the industry.

Another wrinkle is a recent executive order from President Biden, which prompted a review of critical supply chains including for pharmaceuticals and related supplies.

To learn more about the quickly moving landscape, we reached out to William Wappler, the founder and CEO of supply chain specialist Surgere. In the following interview, Wappler shares his thoughts on broad advances in supply chain management including the challenges and possibilities of IoT technology in the sector. He also touches on inbound and outbound logistics considerations for pharmaceutical companies.

What are some of the mo…

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