Industry Expert Q&A with Robin Hooker

February 2, 2015
Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-02-02-2015, Volume 39, Issue 2

Robin Hooker the Director of Healthcare Sector Marketing at UPS discusses issues with maintaining the cold chain in developing markets.

 

Robin Hooker, Director of Healthcare Sector Marketing at UPS

PharmTech: What are the reasons for urgency to respond to issues in the supply chain?

Hooker: With the demographics citing a growing global population-that’s aging and also increasing in its prosperity-we are seeing more of a shift away from acute care toward chronic care. These changing demographics will describe disease, particularly in the pharmaceutical and bio industries’ sweet spots, and along with that come more products going to more diverse locations, facing more varied regulations as we enter new markets.

On top of that, you have more complicated therapies.Going into 2017 to 2020, we feel like seven of the top 10 drug therapies will be large molecule, cold chain, and time- and temperature-sensitive products. These products will require more enhanced monitoring and intervention capabilities that will challenge supply chain decision makers and firms in terms of their ability to leverage these and also enter new markets in a cost effective manner.

PharmTech: Are there any particular issues with maintaining the cold chain in developing markets?

Hooker: I have seen photos of a camel with cooler ice bags delivering a handful of vaccines. The emerging markets are one of the most interesting and attractive areas. We actually have one of our healthcare strategy members involved with Gavi on an assignment there. They just started to actually address some of the challenges related to emerging markets in cold chain and vaccines, and I think what you find is the infrastructure, in terms of facilities and passable roads, becomes complex, especially as you get more remote. The last step of distribution becomes very difficult when you don’t have some of the luxuries that we take for granted here, which is electricity and running water, and the ability to access additional dry ice.

So these challenges are real, they require a concerted effort between private and public enterprise, as well as all the actors looking into the supply chain that have a deep understanding in this area, and I think the fact that we have been called upon by Gavi to leverage some of our capability. I think it is a sign that this is a serious challenge, and it’s a growing issue, especially as we see populations rise in some of these areas and infrastructure not necessarily keeping up.

Article DetailsPharmaceutical Technology
Vol. 39, No. 2
Pages: 74
Citation: When referring to this article, please cite it as “Industry Expert Q&A with Robin Hooker,” Pharmaceutical Technology39 (2) 2015.