STC Logistics’ Logistically Speaking Blog, “Top 3 Considerations for Shipping Pharmaceutical Products,” said, “Shipping pharmaceutical products is more complicated than shipping any other item.”
The blog pointed to temperature control, security and proper licensure as the three areas to keep in mind when selecting a logistics company for pharma products. Maintaining proper temperatures during distribution and ensuring that companies carry the proper licenses and equipment to ship pharma products seem pretty straightforward. It’s the security aspect that struck this editor as especially concerning.
Many of us have read or seen news stories reporting on the brazen thefts of millions of dollars’ worth of valuable products from pharmaceutical manufacturing and warehouse sites, but how does a company protect against theft from people who handle expensive product loads in transit? The “Logistically Speaking Blog” suggested using “direct, non-stop routes that ensure that the delivery is secure with the least amount of handling.” The story also pointed to the use of warehouse cameras, GPS systems for security tracking.
Healthcare Packaging Publisher Liz Tierney, reporting from this year’s RxAdherence Conference, pointed out the positive news that pharmaceutical cargo thefts dropped during the 2009 through 2016 period. The story referred to a presentation from Charles Forsaith, Director, Supply Chain Security, Purdue Pharma & Chairman, Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC), who offered the following resources as ways to prevent theft:
• PCSC seminars,
• The Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA)
• The National Cargo Theft Task Force
•Interested parties can also sign up for BSi, Freightwatch, IJET, CargoNet, Eurowatch. PCSC or Transportation Security Council Alerts.
Even when products safely reach your local pharmacy theft is still a possibility. One example is the eye-opening story, “Safeway to pay $3M for drug theft reporting problems first detected in Wasilla” published in mid-July in the Alaska Dispatch News.
The story says Safeway failed to report the theft of drugs, including more than 12,200 hydrocodone tablets from the Wasilla Carrs pharmacy.
“Follow the money” is the refrain that’s often used in tracking criminal activity. As targeted drug therapies advance, so do their price tags. That makes them ever more susceptible to theft. As a result, it makes sense that pharmaceutical manufacturing logistics professionals incorporate advanced technologies and increase communication throughout their supply chains to ensure pharmaceutical product security, particularly where product handoffs take place.