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Current trends and challenges in pharmaceutical product distribution


Martin Egger
Pharmaserv Logistics, Marburg, Hessen, Germany


New digitalisation possibilities and the implementation of regulatory requirements to establish good distribution practice and protection against falsified drugs are the key factors currently driving the adaptation of the pharmaceutical supply chain.
The integration of service providers, the adaptation of new technologies, and the optimisation of network structures are essential if pharmaceutical companies are to continue leveraging their potential along the supply chain in the future.
This article aims to describe requirements and trends throughout the pharmaceutical product distribution process and to outline solution approaches.

Pharmaceutical product distribution is subject to constant change. The main challenges facing distributors of pharmaceutical products are:

Changes in mode of transport and temperature ranges
By 2020, 27 of the top 50 bestselling drug products will require temperatures of 2-8°C. The shift towards increasing numbers of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals combined with sustained cost pressure raises the question of appropriate packaging solutions and the optimum mode of transport.
Here airfreight is facing competition from road and sea transport, while due consideration should also be given to rail transport, especially over longer distances.


More stringent controls are needed along the supply chain to tackle the problem of the large number of falsified drugs. In order to protect patients, competent authorities around the world have introduced regulations that specify the clear identification, tracking and monitoring of pharmaceutical products. The main driving forces beh ...

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