From vaccines to surgical implants, medical and healthcare products are derived from biological sources that make them highly sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, humidity, pressure, light exposure, as well as shock events.
The Middle East frequently experiences temperatures of more than 40°c during summer, making it extremely important that healthcare products with a short shelf-life are transported and delivered in a safe and reliable manner, especially when transported over long distances. Every year, the global pharmaceuticals industry suffers a loss of products worth more than $15 billion due to temperature fluctuations during transit.
Logistics companies, already the backbone of global trade, have in-depth knowledge of local regulations, compliance, and environmental conditions that help to determine the right distribution route.
The stakes run high during a worldwide healthcare crisis. To meet the increasing demand of safely transporting and handling healthcare, pharmaceutical, and diagnostic products, logistics companies are innovating to provide highly efficient temperature-controlled packaging solutions.
To put this into perspective, take the example of COVID-19 specimen collection kits and laboratory samples. The specimen collection kits are required to be stored and shipped at 2°c to 8°c . With temperature-controlled packaging, the integrity of the specimen is maintained at all times during transit, enabling medical labs to run timely tests and administer proper patient care.
Mind the temperature
Such packaging empowers hospitals, medical labs, and pharmaceutical companies to ensure life-saving specimens can benefit patients. These solutions are equipped with a chilling mechanism that is activated with a button, keeping temperature-sensitive shipments consistently refrigerated for up to 96 hours. This technology eliminates the hassles of using gel packs or dry ice, making these solutions easy to use, lightweight, and a cost-efficient approach for governments, the healthcare industry, and patients in need.
The confidence of transporting critical shipments using temperature-controlled packaging solutions is built through real-time information and visibility. Depending on the requirement, an extra layer of visibility and security can be added with sensor technology to monitor critical shipments. This allows customers to receive regular alerts informing them of their shipment’s current status and any possible concerns, giving them the opportunity to intervene and control their shipment before reaching its final destination.
Temperature-controlled packaging also serves as a response by the logistics industry to the challenges faced in the past by healthcare companies, governments, and patients in gaining access to new and advanced treatments. The healthcare industry is making headway in cell therapy, tissue-based products, transplant medicine, and biopharmaceuticals.
Giving patients access to these life-saving treatments, regardless of their location, has been made possible through established networks, speedy transport services, and innovative solutions. This further encourages collaboration on a global scale, providing individuals with more opportunities to receive quality care and consultation from experts around the world.
To take a step forward in this direction, healthcare organizations should consider logistics companies as their trusted advisors and work together to make manufacturing, research and development in medicine, and care-giving border-less. The healthcare industry should use the network and services of logistics companies as their own, to expand their reach, tap into new opportunities, and share their expertise for the benefit of all.
- Nathalie Amiel-Ferrault is Vice-President for Customer Experience and Marketing at FedEx Express Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa.