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Top Ten Concerns For Global Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Analyzed

pharmaThe global pharmaceutical supply chain can now boast its own Top Ten list, ala comedian David Letterman. That’s because following nine months of extensive research on the topic, a report delineating and explaining the industry’s top concerns has been released.

According to Natalie Privett, an Assistant Professor of Management and Policy at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public School at NYU and one of the report’s authors, a two-part methodology was implemented to create “The top ten global health supply chain issues: Perspectives from the field.” The initial phase consisted of telephone interviews with 22 professionals with varying involvements in the worldwide pharmaceutical supply chain. The group included manufacturers, a person who works for an insurer, importers and exporters, in-country people employed by non-profits or governmental entities and an individual who toils in logistics on a global level, she says.

Based on information gleaned from those interviews, a survey asking respondents to rank 17 supply chain issues based on their relevance to the successful delivery of pharmaceuticals to patients worldwide was created. It was distributed to professionals working in the global health pharmaceutical delivery (GHPD) supply chain who were members of the Association of Public Health Logisticians.

A five-point Likert rating scale to impute value to responses ranging from “Not Important” to “Critical” was employed. The rank order of the top ten issues is based on the average of the responses from those polled.

The Top Ten
According to the report, the Top Ten supply chain concerns for the GHPD are:

1. Lack of coordination
2. Inventory management
3. Demand information
4. Human resource dependency
5. Order management
6. Shortage avoidance
7. Expiration
8. Warehouse management
9. Temperature control
10. Shipment visibility

Privett, who researches and teaches about global public health supply chain management, says the importance of the report cannot be underestimated. “There isn’t a lot published about the global health supply chain. It is a fairly new topic of research but is extremely important,” she says.

In fact, she labels the report “a call to action” for the GHPD industry. She also expressed amazement that one concern she thought would be among the industry’s top ten did not make the cut. “I was surprised counterfeits did not make the top ten since they are such an issue globally,” she says.

The full report is available for purchase here.
Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer. She may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @girlwithapen.
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