Updated on 20 February 2014
Ms Karen Reddington, regional VP, FedEx Express, South Asia Pacific
From a pan-Asia perspective, the biopharma cold chain logistics market alone is projected to grow 66.5 percent to $2.58 billion by 2017. Taking an even broader perspective, the cold chain logistics market in the Asia Pacific region is expected to account for nearly 30 percent of the global market by 2017 .
The rapid increase in demand for biopharma products is due not only to advancements in medical technology and personalised medicines, but also to innovation-driven demand in emerging economies and increasing life expectancy globally.
Transporting healthcare and biopharmaceuticals is a complex and demanding operation, and, as the pharma trade flow gains speed, the process of shipping pharmaceuticals has evolved significantly in order to meet the stringent requirements of the trade.
While pharma companies have traditionally been reluctant to outsource logistics to third-party service providers, this is changing rapidly as companies need to boost their revenue to supplement elapsing patents on blockbuster drugs. Against this backdrop, they are outsourcing their logistics operations to supply chain providers that have specialised and more cost-effective operations devoted to the pharmaceutical supply chain.
The evolution is also accelerated by government agencies such as the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in the US. In the past, healthcare companies shipped mostly ‘hard pharmaceuticals', such as pills or raw materials used to make the drugs. Today, healthcare shipments may contain high value products or compounds that can change their chemical, physical, and biological properties during shipping due to changes in the environment.