Global supply chains are undergoing fundamental change, even as the pharma industry’s use of them is also evolving. Explore market trends and insights in this special market report from industry veteran Nick Basta, founder and former editor of Pharmaceutical Commerce, and contributor to the Leading Minds Network.
To say that “change” is occurring in any business is something of a cliché—things are always changing, and companies that don’t evolve with those changes quickly fall behind. But today, in the aftermath of a global pandemic (which is still playing out in much of the world), a brutal war in Ukraine drawing the attention of most of the industrialized world, and the threat of a global recession brought on in part by highly volatile energy markets, supply chain managers have many reasons to lose sleep. At the same time, fundamental shifts are occurring in the pharmaceutical markets, notably the return of a “patent cliff” as numerous blockbuster drugs go off patent and become lower-cost generics or biosimilars. Alongside that shift, the importance of cellular and genetic therapies (CGTs, roughly equivalent to what are called “advanced medical therapy products” in Europe, or ATMPs) is rising: More such therapies are becoming commercialized. A hallmark of many of these CGTs is that they are “n of 1” products—tailored to an individual patient. That, for reasons that will be explained later, dramatically shifts how medicines will be distributed and administered.
Thus, there are two distinct perspectives for today’s pharma supply chain managers: a global perspective to account for the changing trade and manufacturing practices around the world; and a local one, to focus on how to get an individualized therapy to a specific patient. Many observers of the pharma industry focus exclusively on sources of supplies (ingredients) and contract services when talking about the supply chain, but the reality (and the best strategy) is to combine both sourcing and where finished products are going to achieve an end-to-end solution.