Healthcare firms report progress with product security

Supply chainAdoption of bar-coding and serialization has helped healthcare and life sciences companies report significant progress in improving the security of their supply chains, says a new survey.

The annual UPS Pain in the Chain report - based on interviews with 421 healthcare logistics executives - found that 75 per cent of those polled had achieved improvements in product security, up from 55% a year ago.

"IT-based solutions … and cooperation with law enforcement, are likely to have contributed to improved product security from a visibility and criminal issues standpoint," according to UPS, challenges remain in areas such as physical protection from theft and poor supply chain visibility/too many supply chain hand-offs.

Barc-coding and serialization was the top reason given for success - by 67 per cent of respondents - followed by law enforcement cooperation (41 per cent) and authentication technologies such as holograms and security inks (38 per cent).

Healthcare execs also found increased success in achieving regulatory compliance, a 13 per cent increase from 2014, from 57 to 70 per cent.

The increase came despite an evolving regulatory environment that includes challenging new legislation such as (in order of difficulty): the EU's Good Distribution Practices (GDP) requirements;  Brazil's pharma serialization law; China's Medical Device Good Supply Practice; the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act; EU legislation such as the Falsified Medicines Directive; and South Korea's Medical Device and In Vitro Diagnostics Practice.

"New regulations can be difficult to navigate, but healthcare companies are adapting well to change," says UPS.

More than half of executives who experienced success in these areas stated they leveraged third-party logistics (3PL) providers and supply chain analysis to drive their accomplishments.

"Emerging supply chain complexities include more temperature-sensitive products, track-and-trace regulations, declining reimbursements, and faster delivery requirements while ensuring product quality and accuracy," says the report.

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