Supply Chain Council of European Union |

How to optimize the pharma supply chain to aid smooth delivery of COVID-19 vaccines

Glenn Abood, co-founder and CEO of rfxcel, a supply chain track and trace systems provider, told us traceability technology can play a role in securing the cold chain, especially when the anticipated COVID-19 “vaccine surge”​ happens.

Identifying and tracking the path of such vaccines will be of great importance.

Cross border and regional distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will be necessary, and the greater the number of countries involved in the supply chain, the more complex the management and the greater the risks, he said.

The traceability specialist is seeing ever more and increasingly sophisticated threats to drug delivery. “The pharma industry, along with governments, have to be extremely vigilant in this regard. Counterfeiters, and smugglers are particularly attracted to pharma market due to the high value nature of the products manufactured.”

There is the possibility of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines and that is something rfxcel can help the pharma sector defeat, but a more pressing challenge is on the table, he stressed.

There is a concernaround the fact that COVID-19 vaccines will need to be maintained at a certain safe-handling temperature, which, at around ​-18°C or below, is one of the lowest temperatures of any pharma product being shipped because of the biologics, the active ingredients, involved. So how do we make sure that from point of manufacturer to point of dispense that vaccine is handled safely? Temperature monitoring can help with this.”

On top of that issue, the limitations in existing cold chain and freight infrastructure globally is an increasing worry for stakeholders across the value chain, given the billions of COVID-19 vaccine products that will have to be shifted once their approval is granted, he noted.

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