One Third of Professionals Think China will Challenge Cold Chain Distribution in the Next 5 Years

Andrea Charles

In February 2012 a live poll was carried out at IQPC’s 11th Cool Chain Logistics Europe event attendees from the temperature controlled logistics and quality assurance community were invited to participate and share the the opportunities and challenges they faced in cold chain distribution.

The poll’s respondents represented all areas of the healthcare supply chain. The largest majority of respondents’ products were branded pharmaceuticals 29%, followed by biopharmaceuticals 23%, healthcare distribution on behalf of another company 16%, clinical supplies and IMPs 11%, medical device and diagnostics 7% generics and OTC products at 3% respectively.

Priorities for the temperature assured supply chain

A majority of respondents 69% reported that reducing or preventing product deviations and excursions as one of their top three priorities in the temperature assured distribution supply chain.

As regulatory scrutiny increases and companies face increased cost pressures in the current economic climate other key priorities were ensuring compliance with good distribution practice (GDP) regulations and cost reduction within the supply chain, both with 29% of respondents.

Featuring lower down the rank of core priorities where reducing product theft within the distribution chain 7%, the sustainability and environmental impact of the supply chain and moving toward the outsourcing model within the supply chain with just 3%.

The Corporate Perspective
The pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries are under increasing pressure to ensure the effectiveness the cold chain and demonstrate measureable improvements to temperature controlled supply chain effectiveness.
For over half of the respondents, patient safety with 59% of the vote was the main business driver for ensuring an effective cold chain. Followed by regulatory compliance 18%, product efficacy 11%, cost of spoilage 7% and only 4% stating brand equity.

Opportunities and challenges: The BRIC economies

A significant number of the survey respondents – over 41% selected China as the BRIC economy which had the most opportunity for their business. Followed by Brazil and Russia both with 17% and India with 14%.

However, China was also identified as the BRIC economy that participants thought would present the greatest challenge in the next 5 years with 35% of respondents selecting the country.

Whilst many of these emerging economies have the domestic growth, many professionals are concerned that they do not yet have the infrastructure in place to support the logistic challenges of temperature sensitive storage and distribution
For many emerging markets improving the existing infrastructure is of key concern.

The emerging markets present perhaps the greatest opportunity and challenges for operating a global temperature controlled supply chain. Many of these countries economies are still growing at a healthy, sustainable event despite the global economic slow down and are proving to be an attractive global proposition for pharmaceutical companies looking to increase their global presence and invest in new areas.

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