Reducing the risk of counterfeit drugs and contaminated medications amidst the complexity of global manufacturing are among the top concerns of the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries today, according to a new IBM study.
The study surveyed executives at pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and consumer health care industry companies who are responsible for planning, logistics, procurement and coordination throughout the life of a drug or medical device. More than 50 percent of executives polled say their companies fail to respond quickly enough to pandemics and other emergencies because of lapses in their supply chain.
Companies must work to improve their ability to keep wholesalers, hospitals and pharmacies stocked with the products they need to meet patient demand. Tracking every step of how drugs are manufactured and distributed are key priorities for more than 70 percent of companies. And while the industry is far ahead of most others when it comes to supply chain planning with suppliers, the study indicates the industry falls far behind on collaborating with customers on demand planning, forecasting and replenishment. These are all critical steps to rapidly responding with new vaccines in the event of pandemics, and to ensure that demand does not outstrip supply.
Other key findings:
— 64 percent reported rising customer demands such as requests for designer drugs or specialized packaging as a major challenge.
— Monitoring risk to prevent counterfeiting, drug and device recalls, or even the loss of intellectual property, is a priority for 75 percent of executives, as margins become slimmer and supply chain complexity rises.
— Three-quarters have risk and performance initiatives such as surveillance programs, anti-tamper devices and specialized labeling, but with mixed results.
— 46 percent consider vendor-managed inventory for their customers extremely effective but only 4 percent use it to ensure they are precisely meeting customer demands for products.
— 65 percent collaborate with suppliers on demand planning but only 31 percent do so with customers, often resulting in an overstock of supplies or missed sales targets.