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CEIV Pharma: Industry cooperation that is taking off

4 May 2016  •  Author(s): Ricardo Aitken and Michal Wielgus, IATA Consulting

The pharmaceutical sector is dependent on the secure and reliable transport of valuable time- and temperature sensitive goods. Making a single mistake along the cargo supply chain can destroy the integrity of an entire batch of medicines or vaccines, rendering them worthless and potentially harmful, or even deadly, to end recipients. Although mishandling does not occur often, it is an unfortunate fact that more than 50% of all temperature excursions that do occur happen are while the package is in the hands of airlines and airports. As a result, there is a strong industry need for pharmaceutical trade lanes that assure the integrity of pharmaceutical products being shipped via air.

CEIV Pharma: Industry cooperation that is taking off

In order to fill this industry gap, several air transport industry stakeholders and regulators have joined forces to create the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) programme. This joint effort aims to effectively help reverse the current lack of standardisation, compliance and transparency currently afflicting the pharmaceutical air transport supply chain, via mutual cooperation, honest sharing of data and a strong emphasis on accountability.

An industry need for standardisation

The media cites that the pharmaceutical cold chain logistics industry will surpass the US$10 billion mark in 2018. Traditionally, this industry has relied heavily on air transport due to its speed and efficiency. However, over the past decade air cargo’s share of the overall global pharmaceutical product transport has been continuously declining. The use of air transportation has been reconsidered due to the level of annual product losses in air transport (up to US$12.5 billion) and the concurrent trend towards improved reliability in ocean freight.

In an effort to reduce overall levels of pharmaceutical mishandling, a growing number of countries are issuing their own cold chain regulations and guidance based around the non-air-cargo-specific good distribution practices (GDP). Although the focus on higher standards is a welcome initiative, the result has been the creation of a heavily regulated (and very difficult to manage) industry without global standards or universal certification for the handling and transportation of pharmaceutical products…

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