A new edition of Uruguay Best Practices in Pharma Supply Chain has begun

The largest event of the sector in the region presents a cycle of webinars with international references of the pharmaceutical industry.
Publication date: 07/12/2020

The third edition of Uruguay Best Practices in Pharma Supply Chain, the reference event of the pharmaceutical industry in the region, started last December 2nd with the webinar "The evolution of direct-to-patient logistics: Benefits, challenges and a new normality". The cycle, which will have several days of exchange with references of the sector, is organized by the Pharma Hub group, integrated by companies and government representatives among which is Uruguay XXI. 

This first meeting was attended by World Courier's Senior Director of Patient-Centered Logistics, Mike Sweeney, and DHL Cold Chain Solutions' Director for Latin America, Arlete Gago. 

The opening was led by the Executive Director of Uruguay XXI, Jaime Miller, and the International Logistics Manager of AstraZeneca's hub in Uruguay, Alejandra Silveira. 

Miller referred to the strategic nature of the pharmaceutical logistics sector in Uruguay, and highlighted that the country has "a differential value proposal" for this industry. In this sense, he pointed out: "Uruguay is recognized for its stability and trust in its institutions, which are the pillars of the operations of the firms installed in Uruguay". He also highlighted the importance of the legal framework and specific sector incentives, such as the Free Zone Law and the Free Port and Airport Regime. "All these incentives are State policies, which do not change with the processes of change of government", he stressed.

For her part, Silveira referred to the situation of the sector in the current situation and highlighted how "beneficial it is to share experiences with peers" to face common challenges. "At a global level, we all were forced to unite, to dialogue, to put into practice the famous resilience," she said.

In another order, the executive referred to the case of the German company va-Q-tec, which will make its center in Uruguay the logistic hub for the supply of thermal containers and the international distribution of a vaccine against the coronavirus. Silveira described this news as an "achievement" and highlighted "the spirit of collaboration and support" between the companies in the sector and the governmental organizations in Uruguay. 

COVID-19 and the challenges for pharmaceutical logistics

World Courier Representative Mike Sweeney spoke on "The Evolution of Direct-to-Patient Logistics: Benefits, Challenges, and a New Normal," and referred to the transformations that occurred with the pandemic, which forced the pharmaceutical industry to rethink its best practices to meet new challenges. He also highlighted the significant growth in demand for direct patient services. 

"We are all thinking about how to do things differently and better (...) The customer focus includes experience, trust, partnership and risk mitigation," he said.

Direct-to-patient logistics involves "having the patient's home in the middle of the supply chain, rather than having a hospital," he explained. This modality requires that "the personnel be fully trained, ensuring that the data (of the patient) is safe and private," he said. 

In terms of new trends in the sector, Sweeney highlighted that "there is greater customer interest, and a supply chain with innovation and competition," and also stressed the need to simplify and standardize processes. 

A special mention went to World Courier's service innovation project in Uruguay, from which the delivery of medicines to the entire region will be centralized.

"We have worked through the Free Zone and a fabulous airport facility in Uruguay, unique in the region, where we hired a third party as a partner and with this we were able to arrive at a regional door-to-door transport in all of Latin America, where goods can enter without paying duties or taxes of any kind," he said. 

DHL executive Arlete Gago spoke on "How to ensure stable supply chains for vaccines and medical products during the COVID-19 crisis and future health emergencies. In this context, the executive shared some conclusions of the report prepared by the pharmaceutical firm and consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which addressed the challenges for the logistics management of vaccines and discussed the importance of cooperation between governments and the private sector.

Regarding the changes introduced by the health situation, Gago pointed out the shift from cost logistics to logistics focused on resilience, which focuses on responding to emergency situations such as this one.

The current edition of Uruguay Best Practices in Pharma Supply Chain will have a next meeting in February 2021, with a webinar on Agile Methodologies by Jeferson Assis, lean manager of Operational Excellence at Astrazeneca, Ana Miquelarena, regional manager of Talent Management at Boehringer Ingelheim, and Florencia Lema, in charge of Regional Communications and Organization Development at Roche. 

To learn more about the webinar schedule and register, click here.