The global pharmaceutical logistics market involves a very complex operational process, which is essential as pharmaceuticals are an integral part of the health care industry. A pharmaceutical logistics chain is not like other regular logistics chains in terms of type of products, complexity, and cost. Availability and accessibility of pharmaceuticals are of importance for both companies as well as governments. There is no other product apart from pharmaceuticals that has as high a risk of contamination, sterilization, or instability of ingredients. The stability of packages in transportation from factory to consumer is an important factor in pharmaceutical logistics. This process needs to be maintained and monitored well.

Improper distribution of drugs affects customer satisfaction, company reputation, and company profit. It can also disturb and produce a negative effect on public health, thereby hampering the medication processes of patients. There is an increase in inspections and scrutiny from the FDA, the DEA, and other global regulatory bodies. Pharmaceutical logistics chains continually face the challenges of streamlining operations in maintaining the highest levels of regulatory observance.

The temperature in the vehicles used for transportation is controlled, for cold chain products as well as ambience.

In pharmaceutical logistics, products are tracked with GPS, along with remote temperature monitoring in accordance with GDP guidelines, ensuring safe transportation and delivery of the products. For narcotics and pharmaceutical products, additional measures to ensure safe delivery are observed. For different types of pharmaceuticals, different delivery patterns deployed. There are specific issues in pharmaceutical supply chains, including stringent reimbursement, regulations, direct sell models, pricing applied by government agencies, third-party logistics, product diversity, shipment of R&D products for clinical studies, difficulty in forecasting a product’s lifecycle, and counterfeit products.

 In 2012, in Lesotho the data used for making decisions in logistics chain management was very poor due to untimely and low submission rates, inaccuracy, and a lack of standardized, user-friendly data collections tools. This caused stock-outs of HIV related commodities and other medicines. The handling of sensitive active ingredients and dangerous goods is highly regulated. The rules are related to storage and transport. The maintenance of a flow of material is controlled within the company, and it is the responsibility of the company. However, inbound and outbound transport is often taken care of by service providers. The digitization and improvement of logistics chains leads to many new avenues in its management and distribution. GMP confirms the products are of the highest quality before leaving the company and entering the logistics chain. GDP is concerned with the maintenance of the products’ integrity and the logistics chain even though the GDP may vary by region, giving a chance for the process to grow in complexity.

The global pharmaceutical logistics market can be segmented based on product, transport, application, mode of transportation, and region. Based on product, the global pharmaceutical logistics market can be classified into generic drugs and branded drugs. In terms of transport, the global pharmaceutical logistics market can be segmented into cold chain transport and non-cold chain transport. Based on application, the global pharmaceutical logistics market can be classified into bio pharma, chemical pharma, and specialized pharma. In terms of mode of transportation, the global pharmaceutical logistics market can be categorized into air shipping, sea shipping, road shipping, and rail shipping. Based on region, the global pharmaceutical logistics market can be segmented into North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa.

Prominent players operating in the global pharmaceutical logistics market  are Longistics, Kuehne + Nagel, Genco, Arich Enterprise Co., Ltd,  DB Schenker, DSV, DHL, Mainfreight Ltd, Bio Pharma Logistics Kerry Logistics Network Limited, Zuellig Pharma Asia Pacific Ltd, , Thermotraffic, DKSH, Bestchain Healthtaiwan, Movianto, and FedEx amongst others.

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