Several factors add to the complexity of planning and managing these specialty and rare disease therapies:
- The inventory value for such “premium” products shifts traditional cost/service curves and safety stock strategies. It also increases the importance of excellent planning.
- They are generally lifesaving or critical care treatments for unmet medical needs, which dramatically increases the “cost” of a stock-out beyond simply the financial implications.
- The treatments themselves are so innovative that the materials and processes required can be highly specialized and often single sourced. Frequently, they are fragile molecules or biologic compounds requiring strict environmental controls throughout the supply chain.
- The expiry/shelf life can be very short, which raises the risk of expired high value materials.
- The lifesaving and quality-of-life impact of these treatments increases patient risk if supply fails.
Having previously worked at both a global life sciences company and Converge Consulting, which supports many emerging biotech companies, I’d like to share my perspective on five unique challenges facing this segment of the biopharmaceutical market, along with some recommendations:
Understanding the unique logistical challenges facing specialty biopharmaceutical products is an essential step toward addressing them and building an agile, efficient, and compliant supply chain. Since external partners often play a significant role, establishing a structured relationship based on KPIs can maximize their benefit. Additionally, to ensure a consistently positive patient experience and outcome, investing in high quality and reliable transportation partners, aligned with your Quality and risk management strategies, is crucial for these lifesaving/life-changing treatments.
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