Putting Patients First: Improving the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

This is a guest article written by David L. Buss from DB Schenker and does not necessarily reflect the views and values of Impetus Digital.

The pharmaceutical supply chain can be a difficult and demanding system to manage. Medications and supplies must be handled with the utmost care, often needing to comply with strict temperature regulations and changing demands from patients and providers that vary depending on the country. 

Add this to infrastructure challenges like cold storage or delays, and it’s no wonder patient needs are not always put first. But without patients, there would be no need for pharmaceuticals at all. 

So, how do we ensure that patient interests remain at the forefront of this process? How can we redesign this system so that patients are always placed as a priority while also managing all the other intricacies of a delicate supply chain?

Identifying Opportunities to Prioritize Patients in the Supply Chain

The pharmaceutical supply chain is a complex system that ensures patients have access to the medications they need, when they need them. It includes manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, pharmacies, and more – all must work together to keep medications readily available. And while there are many components involved in this intricate system, it all boils down to prioritizing patients first and foremost.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at why prioritizing patients is so important in the pharmaceutical supply chain:

Patient Accessibility

When medications are accessible, people are more likely to receive the care they need. When companies prioritize patients first and foremost, they create systems that make it easier for those needing medication to access it quickly and efficiently. This could mean anything from developing policies that promote fairness and transparency in pricing to creating networks of distribution points that ensure medications can be delivered promptly wherever needed. 

Whatever strategies your company chooses for improving patient accessibility should always be centered around what’s best for the patient. 

Safety and Quality Control 

The safety and quality of medications are paramount when it comes to patient care. Companies must adhere strictly to laws and regulations related to drug safety and maintain stringent quality control procedures throughout every step of production, packaging, transportation, storage, and distribution – all the way through dispensing at the pharmacy level. 

Making sure their products meet or exceed safety requirements prioritizes safety for everyone involved in the process -from manufacturers to consumers – and helps ensure that patients receive only safe and effective drugs. 

Innovation and Collaboration 

Prioritizing patients also involves fostering innovation within your organization and collaborating with other stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain to improve access for all those who need medications. By engaging with others throughout your industry, you can help identify areas where improvements could be made and share ideas on how best to achieve them. 

Collaboration also allows everyone involved in producing and distributing drugs to stay updated on new developments or changes within their respective fields so they can continue providing safe and effective medications while simultaneously improving patient outcomes. 

Consequences of Ignoring Patient Needs in the Supply Chain

A quality supply chain is essential for providing medical care to patients and helping them get back on their feet as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, many businesses in the healthcare industry fail to consider patient needs when managing their supply chains, which can have serious consequences. 

When businesses don’t prioritize the patient when managing their supply chains, the medical care process can be slowed down and negatively impact the quality of care that patients receive. For example, an inefficient supply chain can cause delays in treatment and prevent doctors from being able to provide life-saving treatments to the patients who need it most.

In addition, not taking into consideration patient needs in the supply chain can result in higher costs for hospitals and patients alike due to expensive emergency orders or long wait times for necessary supplies. This can also lead to decreased customer satisfaction and damage any business’s reputation. 

Achieving a quality supply chain that considers patients’ needs is essential to providing healthcare services in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Without the care of the patient being addressed in the supply chain, medical care could be significantly slowed down, leading to dire physical and financial consequences for all involved.

By understanding the importance of patient needs and prioritizing care when managing their supply chains, companies within the healthcare industry can help ensure that they provide high-quality services while maintaining low costs and a good reputation with customers.

Exploring Ways to Engage and Mobilize Pharmaceutical Stakeholders

To ensure that patient needs are addressed in the pharmaceutical supply chain, it is important to engage and mobilize all stakeholders. This includes manufacturers, distributors, government agencies, healthcare providers, and other industry players, all of whom can positively or negatively influence the pharmaceutical supply chain.

These stakeholders can work together to develop best practices for managing the supply chain in ways that prioritize patient needs, such as through improved policies and processes emphasizing speed, safety, and quality. Additionally, companies should consider engaging with patients to understand their needs better so they can be taken into account when developing supply chain strategies.

Another way to gain active engagement from stakeholders is to create meaningful partnerships between industry participants to leverage their skills and resources. This could be done through projects like joint research initiatives, educational programs, or other collaborations to improve patient access to medications and keep them more informed.

By engaging and mobilizing all pharmaceutical stakeholders and working together to consider patient needs in supply chain strategies, companies within the healthcare industry can help ensure that medical care is provided successfully and efficiently for everyone involved.

Working Together To Change The State of Pharmaceutical Supply Chains

At the end of the day, businesses in the healthcare industry have an important role to play in ensuring patient needs are taken into consideration in the pharmaceutical supply chain. By working together and engaging with stakeholders throughout the industry, companies can help create a safe, efficient system that prioritizes patient needs while also providing quality medical care. This ultimately leads to better outcomes for everyone involved and creates a healthier environment for patients, providers, and manufacturers.

About the Author

David L. Buss is CEO of DB Schenker USA, a 150-year-old leading global freight forwarder and 3PL provider. David is responsible for all P&L aspects in the United States, which is made up of over 7,000 employees located throughout 39 forwarding locations and 55 logistics centers.

About Impetus Digital

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