Third-party logistics providers continue to grow. The industry reached a value of $961.8 billion in 2020, thanks in part to pandemic demands. Growth is likely to continue, topping more than $1 trillion in total value by 2028, according to a report by Fortune Business Insights.
To streamline their work, cut costs and boost performance, third-party logistics providers are investing heavily in data analytics and the tools required for better data analysis. Now is the time to partner with third-party logistics providers in order to glean key insights from their data.
Here are three ways third-party logistics providers’ data can improve distribution of rare disease medications and adherence to treatment protocols.
Usage Summaries Identify Trends
Data from healthcare providers and pharmacies can shed light on which medications are most often prescribed for various rare diseases. This data cannot provide an accurate view of which medications actually make it into patients’ hands, however.
“Usage reports are necessary to understand which products are more popular than others,” writes Hadleigh Reid at DCL Logistics. In the case of orphan drugs for rare disease treatment, data-supported usage summaries provide insight into which medications are being shipped to which patients and when.
These summaries can identify key trends, including:
- Which medications are most commonly ordered.
- How often orders are made and at what tempo — shedding light on patients’ adherence to treatment schedules.
- Patterns in medication changes, which may indicate areas of further study on side effects or other impacts of medication use.
As with other data summaries, a usage summary from a third-party logistics provider is as good as the data underlying the summary. Strong relationships can help create effective, data-driven summaries.
Matching Logistics Providers to Patient Needs
“When your orphan drug enters the market, it targets a specific patient population. So, you need a distribution plan that matches the unique needs of those patients,” writes Kevin Kissling, vice president of fulfillment operations at Truepill.
Kissling identifies five logistics factors that pharmaceutical and biotech companies must consider when deciding how best to get a new medication into patients’ hands:
- Patient populations. This includes how many patients need the treatment and where they are located.
- Treatment settings. Patients who are treated in hospital settings or infusion centers, for instance, need different logistics support than patients who receive their medication through local pharmacies or by mail order.
- Medication handling. What does the drug require for safe shipping, handling and storage? Can a third-party logistics provider meet refrigeration requirements, for example?
- Inventory concerns. Excess inventory of a high-cost specialty medication can pose problems, especially if the medication has a short shelf life. Shortages pose issues as well, including risks for patients. Better communication and transparency with third-party logistics providers can help manage inventories.
- Order placement. How are orders placed? How promptly are they handled?
Data from third-party logistics providers can shed light on these factors. This information can help pharmaceutical companies and other participants choose the right logistics partners to ensure that medications reach the patients who need them.
Supply Chain Transparency and Costs
“Low supply chain visibility can make accurate predictions about availability, shipping times and processing speed much more difficult,” writes Emily Newton in Global Trade Magazine. Low visibility can also increase costs by obscuring places in which greater efficiencies could be obtained.
By analyzing data from third-party logistics providers, organizations can pinpoint the source of problems that resist in-house solutions, from late shipments to paperwork delays and rising costs. Companies that can name the problem can help their third-party logistics providers address the issue or find other ways to meet their obligations.
In the world of orphan drugs, better supply chain data analysis may mean the difference between patients receiving their medications on time and patients dropping out of treatment because they cannot trust that their medication needs will be met.
Third-party logistics companies are showing increased interest in technology, writes marketing and business development coordinator Alec Chapman. While interest in robotics tops the list, a focus on data analysis isn’t far behind — making now an excellent time to partner with third-party logistics providers for better data analysis.
Images by: seventyfour74/©123RF.com, dragoscondrea/©123RF.com