Carolina Galicia
Director General
World Courier
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View from the Top

Growing Demand for Specialized Storage Facilities

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 10:50

Q: How is the change in pharmaceutical company and clinical trial budgets affecting World Courier’s business?

A: It has definitely affected all those in the industry and everyone is looking for more value for money. Fortunately as we have a great deal of experience, particularly in clinical trials and we follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), good distribution and clinical practices, this has not resulted in serious difficulties for us or our clients. We have 14 warehouses dedicated to clinical studies. We have more than 140 offices in over 50 countries. We are more of a partner than a vendor to clients.

Q: Are you still growing in Mexico?

A: Yes, in spite of market difficulties we hope to continue our growth in the coming years. We are looking to grow at around 20 percent and offer more exclusive services. The clinical services market on Mexico is consolidating, which is why we are focusing in other sectors too. Growth of the market in general is difficult to measure and our numbers do not correlate exactly with the market

. Q: Why is Mexico becoming a more attractive market for clinical trials and how is this trend growing?

A: In the past, regulatory framework impeded us from doing many things, including clinical trials, because many companies lacked COFEPRIS’ authorization. This has stabilized and the number of protocols we are working with has grown. Our location also makes Mexico an attractive country to work in, with a diverse population that is ideal for studies helped, by our close proximity to the US.

Q: What are the tendencies in pharma logistics in Mexico?

A: Storage is definitely a trend, as we have seen across our 14 depots. Standardization of services and having strategic locations in emerging markets, particularly in Latin America, is very important. Either direct distribution or depots are needed. Depots must adhere to the conditions required by the client and the regulators. Any company providing such a service must have the necessary staff, processes and documentation and control the temperature, with demands such as host embedded controller interface (HECI) specifications. Our clients expect this. We are frequently audited in line with the high standards required by GxP. Our clients are constantly looking for more options, weighing costs and benefits together with adherence to protocol and study specifications.

Q: What are the greatest risks in pharma at the moment?

A: As the industry employs extremely high-quality products, shrinking budgets may be the biggest risk for everyone to maintain standards for patient safety. Processing times, permits and changes in government all affect how we can do business. Recruitment and retention rates of patients for studies are critical and failure to maintain these will affect the industry greatly.

Q: What is driving your business in Mexico and what will we see in years to come?

A: Right now, the greatest demand is in storage and distribution in contrast to transport. Mexico is a vast country and we are interested in entering other states, like Jalisco. We will continue to specialize in pharmaceuticals. Our new invention, Cocoon™, is a type of packaging designed for larger bulk supply shipments. This was created for use in pallets, with specific temperature requirements. Cocoon is a game changer for us as it is extremely light when compared to other packaging options on the market. Weight is typically reduced by 25 percent. Within the pharma supply chain, we offer a service called “Direct to Patient” where deliveries go to the patient at home or into the hands of a medical professional caring for them. This is already in place in around 40 countries including the US. We have the regulations in place to roll this out in Mexico. What often causes patients to withdraw from a study is that they cannot easily attend the place where the study is being held, particularly when they are sick.

ASD Healthcare, also a part of our parent company AmerisourceBergen, offers myCubixx, a small refrigerator that can be kept in a pharmacy or in a patient’s home, scans the medicines inside and automatically orders new supplies when specific stocks are low.