COVID Elevates the Biopharma Cold Chain

As 2021 winds down, supply chain woes are impacting nearly every aspect of life. The pharmaceutical industry was one of the first areas impacted by large scale lockdowns. As a highly regulated industry, there was a pre-COVID inclination to operate conservatively and reactively given the risk associated with the distribution of prescription medicines.

Seemingly overnight, standard operating procedures were no longer sufficient to achieve desired results. Downstream pharmaceutical supply chains and their business development peers faced ramifications from the closing of HCP offices that created lack of patient access. Meanwhile upstream counterparts were confronted by challenges in obtaining key ingredients and APIs. Research and development teams also had to pivot and adopt virtual clinical trials which had always shown great promise but lacked widespread adoption.

Complicating matters even more was the virus itself, an urgent and puzzling new disease state with a dire public health outlook. Many larger biopharmaceutical entities paused discovery work to focus on developing COVID diagnostic tools, vaccine candidates and treatments. Once COVID-19 vaccine candidates started to show efficacy, attention shifted to the cold chain logistics required to support a rapid, global rollout. The highly temperature sensitive mRNA-based vaccines in particular garnered media attention around site readiness to accept, store and safely administer the vaccinations. 

Though countless supply chain challenges were spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, the biopharma industry effectively demonstrated an ability to tackle problems while fortifying supply chain operations for the next large-scale crisis.

Read more about how the cold chain emerged as a burning platform at,"COVID-19: Bending, Not Breaking, Biopharma Supply Chains." 

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