Ensuring pharmaceutical supply chain effectiveness

The pharmaceutical and biotech industry is under severe pressure. Research & Development (R&D) costs are spiralling, development timelines are growing, payer pushback is increasing and consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about care options. The industry is responding driving time out of development, becoming smarter about stopping projects early in the development cycle, and increasing efficiency through rationalisation or outsourcing of non-core activities.

As scientific advances enable the industry to move from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to care, to one of segmentation, personalisation and wellness, so the supply chain will need to evolve. The supply chain of the future will be built around flexibility, responsiveness and reliability shifting the supply paradigm from a stock-based model to an order-based model.

Its characteristics will include:
 

  • Techniques to rapidly commission and decommission new products and markets.
  • Alternate supply models to match shifts in the provision of care e.g., direct to consumer or pharmacist rather than through a wholesaler channel.
  • Advanced product design and packaging to both drive patient compliance and protect intellectual property.
  • Inventory tracking tools to eliminate counterfeiting and parallel-importing risks.
Since structural changes to the supply chain model will have tax implications, it is imperative that organisations carefully balance operational and financial efficiencies when designing supply chains. Manufacturing operations continue to invest in new technologies targeting cost savings and flexibility, to address historically inefficient, low yield batch processes, with inconsistent quality outcomes. The regulatory landscape covering the adoption of these new techniques is maturing, due to the ICH (International Conference on Harmonisation) initiative and more recently with the new FDA draft guidance on process validation. The thorough evaluation of the appropriate innovative technologies (like PAT (Process Analytical Technology), continuous, disposable and miniaturized manufacturing and new process development methods (like Quality by Design), in line with the future manufacturing vision, will be key as manufacturers prepare for the future.

Many pharmaceutical companies are considering transitioning non-core manufacturing from traditional strong-holds in Ireland, Puerto Rico and Singapore to the emerging markets of China and India . But such uses of external supply networks will require companies to employ new and more evolved tools of virtual supply chain management – from operations to finance to tax planning.

How PwC can help you

PwC’s offers a wide array of industry-focussed supply chain management services that address the challenges facing pharmaceutical and healthcare products companies, including:
  • Lean / Six Sigma
  • Technology transfer
  • Tax efficiency
  • Sustainability
  • Asset management
  • Security of supply
  • ePedigree
  • Virtual models
  • Complexity management (process and product)
  • Cost management and working capital reduction
  • Governance and compliance
  • To evaluate the benefits of new technologies, evaluate future scenarios to improve manufacturing competitiveness