Pharma forum identifies supply chain issues

The need for information sharing in order to manage pharma and life science shipments throughout their transportation was one of the key conclusions of the Pharma Shippers’ Forum organised and co-hosted by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, as part of this year’s Air Cargo India event in Mumbai.

Pharma forum identifies supply chain issues

The unprecedented gathering of 40 leading pharma shippers, together with representatives of logistics service providers, cargo handlers, airports, airlines and regulators uncovered many of the problems and concerns facing India’s multi-billion dollar pharma industry as it steps up its export drive.

Moderated by Schiphol Cargo senior VP Enno Osinga, the event – which followed the now popular ‘Schiphol format’ – opened with an overview of the sector by Ryan Viegas, VP supply chain & procurement for Watson Pharma. He told the audience that pharma is India’s third biggest industry, employing 350,000 people in 10,000 companies. He added that India has the largest number of FDA-approved sites outside the US and that the sector is growing at 20 per cent per annum.

With initial input from experts representing all elements of the pharma supply chain, the forum soon provoked lively debate among the 100 delegates. Among the many challenges mentioned were the danger of temperature excursions rendering medicines ineffective; the need to secure supply chains from counterfeit products; the lack of transparent pricing from forwarders; and the often extreme difference between climates at origin and destination.

Also highlighted was the need for greater collaboration; the resistance to share information between supply chain partners; and the inability of some carriers to participate in the flow of information from forwarders.