Pharmaceutical supply chain optimisation
The optimisation process is a never-ending objective that requires a great deal of dedication from the logisticians and a long-term commitment to upliftment and skills transference from country leaders.
The necessity for healthcare is relative and changes depending on one’s frame of reference. Urbanised individuals might argue that healthcare is an absolute necessity. Speaking to rural families, the need for running water and a sturdy roof might outweigh the need for healthcare. Be that as it may, as healthcare providers, we know that healthcare is essential to any nation’s well-being and a pharmaceutical or drug supply chain is vital to any functional healthcare system.
Suppose healthcare workers represent the organs of the human body. In that case, the pharmaceutical supply chain, which generally also includes the surgical product supply chain, can be compared to the cardiovascular system of that human body. As with the human body, the continuous supply of blood is required to keep the entire body functioning. Without drugs, no surgical procedure would be possible. Without drugs, no medical condition could be addressed satisfactorily.
The effectiveness of a drug supply chain is directly proportional to the data and information flowing along the very same logistics lines, which can be referred to as the information supply chain. Along with accurate data gathered at the respective nodes of the drug supply chain, quantification of the need for specific drugs becomes more precise, and forecasting can then ensue.
Logisticians should always request data to be gathered from the nodes in the drug supply chain where healthcare service delivery takes place. An integrated electronic inventory system is by far the best vehicle to collect data from all service delivery points, which include primary healthcare clinics, community health centres, and hospitals.
In countries where logisticians and drug supply chain specialists are limited, decision-making regarding the drug supply chain should be centralised at the national and regional depots. Drug supply chain practices should be planned in such manner that the calculations for inventory take place at these centralised nodes, and are based on the data received from the service delivery points.
The key to a practical and optimally functional drug supply chain is the training of logistics personnel in the science of logistics and ensuring practical competency in the drug supply chain. The optimisation process is a never-ending objective that requires a great deal of dedication from the logisticians and a long-term commitment to upliftment and skills transference from country leaders. Walter Cronkite, a broadcaster and news anchor at the CBS Evening news in the United States, was known during the ‘60s and 70’s as the ‘most trusted man’ in America. Of the American health care system, he once stated that it is neither healthy, caring, nor a system. Even though America presents with one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, there will always be room for improvement. We should take a leaf from their book and commit ourselves to a continuous improvement strategy of the drug supply chain. It is only through perseverance, over the long term, that optimisation of the drug supply chain can be attained.