Stay Cool: Keeping the Cold Chain IntactWed, 09/05/2018 - 09:45
Clinical trials are the necessary first step in getting a product into the hands of the general public. Napoleón Gómez, Country Manager of global logistics company World Courier, says businesses like his can play an integral role in moving a trial to a successful conclusion. “In Mexico, the clinical trials industry faces several challenges. Among them is finding ways to ensure that participants do not abandon the trial, which can delay a study by months and sometimes, years,” he says. “World Courier focuses on optimizing the clinical trial supply chain to help research centers and pharmaceutical companies in their effort to find new treatments.”
To that end, World Courier has developed logistics strategies to bring pharmaceuticals closer to the general public, while maintaining the same quality standards as the contract research organizations (CROs) operating in the country. One service that can specifically aid the clinical trial industry in Mexico is World Courier’s Direct-to-Patient solution, which is designed to deliver treatments directly to the patient’s home. This solution makes it easier for patients to keep up with the procedure, meaning they are likely to stay in the trial for a longer period. As some of these medications need to be administered by a nurse, the company also coordinates the assistance of a professional. While this service is already operational in Europe, Gómez explains that there are challenges to bringing the model to Mexico, including security and infrastructure issues.
Founded in 1969 and acquired in 2012 by AmerisourceBergen, World Courier has created solutions to address the specific needs of pharmaceutical companies: commercial supply chain, pharmaceutical storage and distribution, clinical trial logistics, cell and gene therapy and direct-to-patient, as examples. Gómez says the acquisition by AmerisourceBergen has helped the company expand, by taking advantage of an extensive global network and investment in logistics for human and animal health. “We have grown at a double-digit yearly rate since 2012.”
Gómez says that one of World Courier’s greatest advantages is its quality standards and certification, which are applied to its operations globally. “We know and follow the standards to which the pharmaceutical industry adheres to provide the necessary services related to cold chain.” To guarantee a pharmaceutical product’s quality and integrity, comprehensive steps are taken from the sourcing of raw materials to the distribution of the final product. World Courier is the first global logistics company to attain global GDP certification against three major GDP standards, those of the EU, United States Pharmacopeia and WHO, and the only provider to hold a GDP certification with such wide and global scope. Additionally, World Courier has developed specific products and strategies to maintain the cold chain. “We are involved in storage and transportation fully specialized in temperature control through excellent packaging solutions that can truly guarantee that the products stay within those temperatures,” says Gómez.
The company offers active and passive packaging to deliver products within specified temperature range. Active packaging incorporates an internal fan or a supply of dry ice to keep the product cold for longer periods. Passive packaging only requires adequate conditioning with no additional modifications during transportation. In 2015, the company launched a packaging solution called Cocoon that uses several gels to keep a product’s temperature constant. “Cocoon will maintain products at the desired temperature for three to five days. This type of packaging is designed to minimize the manipulation of products that require opening the package,” Gómez says.
World Courier is based in Mexico City but its logistics solutions allow it to work throughout the country and around the world. Gómez says that Mexico City is a strategic connection to the US, Canada and Latin America. “From here, we can connect any two points because our packaging guarantees the integrity of the products throughout the trip.” Adaptability, he says, is a key to World Courier’s success and with its new services the company sees a positive outlook for the Mexican market. “We fully understand the changing needs of our clients and we adapt our product offering to them.”