Three cold chain business opportunities for personalized medicine

27th September 2021

Personalized medicine is far more effective than traditional medicine. Is your fleet prepared to embrace this new trend?

First off, what is personalized medicine?

Let’s look at the definition of the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA): personalized medicine is an innovative approach to tailoring disease prevention and treatment that takes into account differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles.

In short, it goes away from the mass production and develops medicine customized to one specific (group of) patient(s).

According to the NHS , the UK’s National Health Service, personalized medicine will transform how we think about our healthcare while providing benefits in the form of 4 P’s:

  • Prediction and prevention of diseases
  • More Precise diagnoses
  • Personalized and targeted interventions
  • A more Participatory role for patients

However, there are some challenges and opportunities that the cold chain has to face first. Unlike traditional medicine, personalized medicine needs to be transported multiple times – and rather fast.

And that’s only one challenge we face…

Challenge #1: Bulk transport vs unique transport

A spokesperson responsible for personalized medicine supply chains at Kiadis Pharma, unveiled in 2019 that:

We are looking to create a supply chain where we can scale up and standardize it. But with personalized medicine, it’s difficult to scale up because it is so unique to the patient.” 

As of this writing, there doesn’t seem to be a solution to overcome this challenge.

However, one way to face this challenge is through the use of intermodal channels – selecting the most efficient transport unit. Deliveries by plane, for example, will reach the specific patient faster – which is necessary for personalized medicine. Every second count since they need to be transported multiple times – and the medicine has a rather short expiration date (see below).

20% of pharmaceutical products are damaged during transport.

Challenge #2: Maintaining the right temperature

As we wrote in a previous blog post, the temperature demands for vaccines and medicine are quite demanding.

And even then, many vaccines are wasted during transport. Around 20% of pharmaceutical products are damaged during transport because of breakdowns.

Well, with personalized medicine it goes even further. With traditional medicine, it was enough to transport medicine from the manufacturer to the hospital (or pharmacy). Personalized medicine, however, needs to be transported multiple times between the manufacturer and the patient before he or she can use it.  

“Personalized medicine needs to be monitored in real-time.”

Challenge #3: Protecting the integrity of the personalized supply chain

One way to reduce waste on the road is with end-to-end protection – from producer to patient.

To ensure this end-to-end protection throughout the cold chain, advanced technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and telematics are necessary.   

If – for some reason – the set-point temperature shifts in your trailer, this would spoil the cargo and damage the life-saving vaccines.  

However, through telematics, you’ll receive alarms whenever the temperature fluctuates in your trailer and you can change the temperature remotely.  

Connected Solutions

Ready to track your personalized medicine

Our Connected Solutions telematics are the solution to keep an eye on your personalized medicine supply chain.

  • Real-time insights on temperature
  • Information on individual deliveries
  • Visibility of key operational metrics and driver behavior