Sofrigam calls for new attitudes to isothermal pharma distribution
Press Release | Sofrigam S.A
NOVEMBER 24, 2015
Monchy-le-Preux, France: – Cool chain packaging specialist Sofrigam warns that step changes in attitudes to isothermal distribution and storage of medicines are urgently needed to cope with an expected explosion in the number of temperature sensitive products over the coming decade.
Sofrigam identifies storage at pharmacies and ‘last mile’ distribution to patients as the key challenges.
“There is a growing trend for bespoke treatments and targeted therapies. The development of biological drugs is set to intensify over the next 10 to 15 years, and yet these products are highly sensitive to temperature variations,” the French company notes.
“Biological medicines are developed using living plant, human or animal cells, or micro-organisms. These complex and innovative molecules remain highly fragile and particularly sensitive to temperature variations, with a limited shelf life. Even slight temperature variations can modify the drugs’ molecular structure, and extreme care is required at every stage in the supply chain,” it notes.
Heat-sensitive health products
Among the facts and figures, Sofrigam highlights:
- Currently more than 90% of vaccines require a temperature-controlled supply chain from the manufacturer right up to administration to the patient.
- By 2018, it is expected that 49% of the world’s top 100 healthcare products will belong to the biotechnology category.
- By 2020, it is estimated that 8 in 10 of the world’s best-selling drugs will need to be stored at between +2°C and +8°C.
The statistics highlight a growing challenge, particularly for advanced markets in Europe and North America.
Europe: insulated delivery solutions
In Europe, there is growing awareness that temperature-sensitive drugs and healthcare products need to be safeguarded in a cool chain that extends all the way from production to the end user’s home or bedside.
“Patients are beginning to realize the importance of protecting their temperature-sensitive medicines as they take them home from the pharmacy. They recognize the need for special care when transporting medicines, in the same way that they have already become accustomed to transporting refrigerated or frozen food products in isothermal bags,” says Sofrigam.
The firm also says that pharmacists have a major role to play, both in providing advice and information to patients, but also in providing insulated and temperature-controlled delivery solutions.
“This is one reason why the use of isothermal cooling bags is really taking off in Europe,” says Sofrigam.
“These bags guarantee the integrity of the product. From the manufacturers’ point of view, they are also a great opportunity to boost brand loyalty: isothermal bags can be easily customized to feature their name and logo.”
America: multiple distribution circuits
The picture is even more complex in the United States and Canada, where there are three major distribution channels. Two of these are accounted for by independent pharmacies and online outlets. The third major source of supply are pharmacy chains, which in turn break down into three sub-channels: traditional drugstores, the healthcare counters of major retailers such as Wal-Mart and pharmacies belonging to mass merchants or discount stores, such as Costco.
“This complexity means a greater number of stakeholders involved in providing healthcare to patients,” Sofrigam notes.
Patient education needed
“Chain stores have everything to gain from promoting an image of quality and being seen to do everything in their power to protect patients’ health. That includes distributing drugs in protective isothermal bags,” the firm notes.
Sofrigam concludes that major consumer education is required.
“Pharmaceutical firms are aware of the importance of the sea change in temperature sensitive products, but the same cannot yet be said for the majority of patients… Watch this space!” says Sofrigam.
French company, Sofrigam S.A. designs and manufactures cool chain pharmaceutical shipping solutions and insulated boxes for the life sciences industries as well as for distribution and logistics companies.
The company was founded in 1979 by an industrial pharmacist and initially developed eutectic painkillers before specializing in the design and manufacture of insulated and refrigerated packaging, including pre-qualified insulated shipping solutions. The company is headquartered in Ile-de-France with a production site at Arras.
Sofrigam offer solutions for the cold chain logistic problems experienced by the pharmaceutical industry. It offers a range of standard and made-to-measure thermal packaging products as well as customized services designed to achieve secure, cost effective and ecological cold chain logistics.
Sofrigam has become one of Europe’s leading cold chain specialists, sharing its expertise via seminars, publications and R&D collaborations. It also offers customized products and services designed to achieve cold logistics that are secure, cost-effective and comprehensively compliant.
Sofrigam partners with Ater Métrologie, a French-based ISTA and ISO 9001 certified laboratory that specializes in testing, validating and pre-qualifying temperature-controlled packaging and cooling systems. The laboratory carries out some 2,000 tests each year.
Laetitia Perche, Marketing Director, Sofrigam SA
Tel: +33 (0) 1 46 69 85 43
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