Cold Chain University Blog

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Who Else Wants the Scoop on the Pharma Track?

Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 12:00 AM | Vivian Berni | Events, Industry Trends

With so many global conferences, we are here to keep information orderly and recorded for your benefit. No standard operating procedure required. 

All industry jargon aside, we know how hard it can be to keep pace with the industry's activities. So let's give you the scoop on last week's International Air Transportation Association (IATA) World Cargo Symposium hosted in Berlin, Germany. This is not your typical pharmaceutical or biotech conference. It's the biggest and most well known conference for bringing together key stakeholders from the entire air cargo supply chain. Yes, it's all about air transport. The main theme focused on "The Value of Air Cargo". 

We could spend several blog posts diving into the various pleanary sessions, workshops and specialized tracks, but let's narrow our focus to the Pharmaceutical Management Track. 

Background: The growing global market for pharmaceutical products is a unique opportunity for the airfreight industry. In turn, life sciences companies are very reliant on air cargo for their global supply chain. There is hence a mutual interest in collaborating.

The airfreight industry has come a long way over the past 5-10 years, developing reliable pharmaceutical services, and dedicating infrastructure and in depth training across the globe. During this year’s World Cargo Symposium Pharma Track some of these success stories were shared with the audience.

We were honored to have the customer voice represented by 3 shippers – UCB, J&J and GSK, providing us with an excellent perspective during a lively panel session on what’s next and where the industry is headed. 

Presentation Highlights:

  1.  Dealing with Compliance and Complexity: How Pharmaceutical Companies are Managing Their Air Shipments?
     Ludovic Ménédème, Head of Global Distribution, Customer Service and Commercial Relationships, UCB Biopharma,acknowledged the efforts  made by the air freight industry to strengthen Good Distribution Practice (GDP) compliance by means of IATA CEIV Pharma certification,  indicating that we are on track but still have some challenges and opportunities ahead of us. 
  2. Africa Case Study: Supplying the Ebola Vaccine to Sierra Leone
    Gino Vleugels, Senior Manager EMEA Temperature Control, Johnson & Johnson, shared an amazing story about bringing Ebola vaccines to West Africa, with very personal insight while sharing his contagious passion and commitment. 
  3. Panel Discussion: What Shall the Industry Expect from Pharmaceutical Shippers in the Future?
    During this session, Maria D’Orazio Head of Cold Chain Logistics - Global Supply Chain, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics (a GSK company), made a wonderful analogy which compared the power of vaccines in disease prevention to the industry's need to look forward in taking proactive measures to identify and mitigate potential risks. 

Conclusion: Improving industry logistics networks to achieve supply chain excellence increasingly requires transparency and cooperation amongst all supply chain partners to provide the high quality services customers demand to ultimately safeguard patient safety.

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