Supply chain management plays a highly significant role in the clinical and medical industry, and it makes sure that everything works out smoothly. Today, we’ll discuss clinical supply chain management; its key elements, strategies, and challenges.
What is Clinical Supply Chain?
The clinical supply chain is the process of distributing raw materials to pharmaceutical companies and then delivering final products to patients across the world. The focus of any good and developed SC system is that it manages all the processes of clinicals supplies. However, there are various processes of clinical SC that companies could do it internally and inside the organizations.
Some of the main activities of the clinical SC process are as follows;
- Production and manufacturing
- Packaging and packing
- Regulatory tests
- Clinical and analytics
Key Elements of Clinical Supply Chain
Some of the main elements of the clinicals SC are as follows;
- Inventory control
- Ancillary supply sourcing and comparator drug
- Cold chain
- Importation and global distribution
- Logistics planning
- IWRS/IVRS management
- Reviewing batch records and approval
- Destruction, reconciliation, returning
- Project budgeting
- Translation, generating label text, and approval
- Labeling solution and approval
- Unique packaging
- Global studies management
- Substance handling and controlling drugs and medicine
Strategies for Clinical Supply Chain Management
Improving Patient Experience
The pharmaceutical industry is transitioning towards decentralized trials, and the clinical drug supply would become the center of patient experiences and investigating analysts. It comprises of following elements;
- Trial data management
- Patient device support service
- The user interface for analysts
- Last-mile delivery and return
- Packaging design
For instance, a well-known pharmaceutical organization is planning to integrate IoT temperature loggers into its voice response systems. They are also analyzing telehealth for decentralized health trials to amplify the experience of patients and investigating analysts.
Reviewing Drug Supply Strategy
As trial studies require transitioning and transformation; many pharmaceutical organizations are finding new methods and strategies to achieve SC flexibility in distribution, labeling, packaging, manufacturing, production, and sourcing. The main objective is to react quickly react to the changes in the trial arms, formulation, and dosing arms. However, organizations that are implementing such changes, should keep in mind the future pipeline possibilities like mix and scale modalities.
Advanced Clinical Planning
When it comes to designing end-to-end clinicals SC, then it needs responsive and reactive planning and forecasting system. The main tools that help patients to achieve flexibility and facilitate patient supply planning and forecasting are as follows;
- Interactive response technology (IRT)
- Advanced analytics for patient forecasting
A renowned biotech organization is establishing an automated exchange mechanism with the assistance of logistics service providers. While doing so, it is planning to integrate an ERP system, rapid response, and IRT; this initiative helps them to achieve the following;
- Insight generation
- Better decision making
- Improved experience for patients and investigating analysts
- Limited cost
Businesses and companies that plan to improve the quality of their distribution and manufacturing processes. They decrease deviations and complaints in order to achieve higher efficiency. For instance, a community organization “Global Lighthouse Network” employs analytical tools and digitalization along with a value chain system to achieve the following;
- Environmental sustainability
- High growth
- Quality performance
Many pharmaceutical organizations are also employing digital analytical tools to achieve benefits like quality cost in commercial manufacturing and low deviations. Now, they are applying the same strategies to the clinical SC processes and operations.
Businesses and companies require complete transparency and visibility of their processes and performance in order to take advantage of the opportunity. It helps them in the following ways;
- Cost performance
- Patient experience
- Trial timeline reduction
- Supply flexibility
Pharmaceutical organizations embrace the fact that governance and performance management are such areas that need improvement. Many clinical SC leaders acknowledge the significance of end-to-end performance visibility; many others find it unclear.
Many clinical SC companies find it difficult to keep up with the latest tech innovation and creativity like decentralized trials, cell, and gene therapy. Such types of innovations need new SC capabilities like the following;
- In-home services
- Patient-device management
- Viral-vector management
The function of clinical SC can’t perform and work quickly, efficiently, and independently. In fact, many clinical SC leaders are shifting their interest outward and establishing partnerships with the following;
- Strategic partners
- Niche service providers
- Tech providers
- CROs (contract research organizations)
Challenges to Clinical Supply Chain Management
Some of the main challenges to clinicals SC management are as follows;
- Trial and regular drug stockouts that would disrupt the treatment of patients
- Difficult to predict how many and the type of patients would enter the hospital; what type of medicine they would need
- Short expiration dates and difficult to keep up with it
- Continuously analyze the risk of disruptions
- Regularly evaluate the stock level
Conclusion: Clinical Supply Chain Management
After an in-depth study of clinical supply chain management; we have realized clinicals SCM is the lifeline in the medical industry. If you are learning about clinical SCM, then you should keep in mind the abovementioned strategies, challenges, and elements.
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