Tag Archives: biopharma

EU Countries Contend to Be New Host Country of the European Medicines Agency

Sentry BioPharma Services provides drug product management, global drug distribution, GMP storage and specialized services like pharmaceutical labeling, packaging and kitting.  Sentry plays a critical role in protecting temperature-sensitive product safety, identity, strength, purity and quality (SISPQ) for both clinical trials and commercial drug distribution for a wide range of pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients.

 

The European Medicines Agency, (EMA), oversees medicine regulation within the EU and evaluates applications for medicines to receive marketing authorization across the bloc. It has been based in London since it was founded in 1995.

However, as Brexit is completed the regulatory body will move from its current headquarters in London and as many as 20 EU countries may bid to host the headquarters of the EMA and its staff of almost 1000.

Portugal is the latest to join the competition and other contenders include the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Spain. Potential interest has also been expressed by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Finland, Cyprus, Malta, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. Only the Czech Republic and Estonia have said they would not be vying for the EMA headquarters.

No precise timetable for the transfer has been set, and the EMA itself will have no direct say in the decision. Rather, representatives of the EU Member States will vote to determine the outcome.

Hosting the headquarters should be financially attractive. In addition to the large permanent staff, regulators from member countries are constantly in attendance at the headquarters for meetings and work. It could also be expected that established international big pharma companies as well as emerging European pharmaceutical businesses might locate offices or headquarters in the EMA host city.

However, a number of potential problems loom as the relocation is considered. Pharmaceutical companies fear there could be drug approval delays when the headquarters makes its move. Reportedly a large number of senior staff have left EMA since the Brexit vote and EMA is also likely to suffer a further loss because of the significant amount of review and approval work done by the UK Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). And, the MHRA will face a challenge of how closely to continue to harmonize its regulations with those of the EMA which some UK critics say would allow EMA to continue to dictate the content of the regulations.

As with much of the economic and political adjustments being made during the transition period after Brexit, the one constant at this time seems to be uncertainty.

Sentry BioPharma Services offers temperature sensitive biological product management to pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and organizations with need for validated  GMP storage, labeling, kitting and temperature-sensitive drug distribution services.  For more information about how Sentry’s GMP services can help protect the integrity and delivery of your biological products to patients, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

CDC Report: First cases of Candida auris reported in U.S.

On Friday, November 4, 2016 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the first cases of Candida auris were reported in the United States (U.S.).candida_strain

A strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at CDC.
Photo Credit: Shawn Lockhart, CDC

Thirteen cases of Candida auris (C. auris), a serious and sometimes fatal fungal infection that is emerging globally, have been identified in the United States, according to the CDC. Seven of the cases occurred between May 2013 and August 2016 and are described today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The other six cases were identified after the period covered by the report and are still under investigation.

The following map displays where Candida auris cases have been identified in the United States as of November 4, 2016.

candida

Source of map: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/candida-auris.html

The report is the first to describe U.S. cases of C. auris infection. C. auris is often resistant to antifungal drugs and tends to occur in hospitalized patients. In June 2016, CDC issued a clinical alert describing the global emergence of C. auris and requesting that laboratories report C. auris cases and send patient samples to state and local health departments and CDC. Since then, CDC has been investigating reports of C. auris with several state and local health departments. The agency expects to continue to investigate possible cases as awareness of the emerging infection increases.

“We need to act now to better understand, contain and stop the spread of this drug-resistant fungus,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “This is an emerging threat, and we need to protect vulnerable patients and others.”

Among the seven cases detailed in the report, patients with C. auris were reported in four states: New York, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey. All of the patients had serious underlying medical conditions and had been hospitalized an average of 18 days when C. auris was identified. Four of the patients died; it is unclear whether the deaths were associated with C. auris infection or underlying health conditions.

In two instances, two patients had been treated in the same hospital or long-term-care facility and had nearly identical fungal strains. These findings suggest that C. auris could be spread in healthcare settings.

Six of the seven cases were identified through retrospective review of hospital and reference laboratory records. Identifying C. auris requires specialized laboratory methods because it can easily be misidentified as another type of Candida infection, in which case patients may not receive appropriate treatment. Most of the patient samples in the current report were initially misidentified as another species of Candida.

Most of the C. auris strains from U.S. patients (71 percent) showed some drug resistance, making treatment more difficult. Samples of C. auris strains from other countries have been found to be resistant to all three major classes of antifungal medications. However, none of the U.S. strains in this report were resistant to all three antifungal drug classes. Based on laboratory testing, the U.S. strains were found to be related to strains from South Asia and South America. However, none of the patients travelled to or had any direct links to those regions. Most patients likely acquired the infections locally.

“It appears that C. auris arrived in the United States only in the past few years,” said Tom Chiller, M.D., M.P.H., chief of CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch. “We’re working hard with partners to better understand this fungus and how it spreads so we can improve infection control recommendations and help protect people.”

CDC recommends that healthcare professionals implement strict Standard and Contact Precautions to control the spread of C. auris. Facilities should conduct thorough daily and after-discharge cleaning of rooms of C. auris patients with an EPA-registered disinfectant active against fungi. Any cases of C. auris should be reported to CDC and state and local health departments. CDC can assist in identifying this particular type of Candida if needed.

In 2013, CDC issued a report describing antibiotic resistance threats in the United States that needed prompt action, including Candida infections. CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network is providing additional lab support in four regional laboratories to test fungal susceptibility of Candida species and identify emerging resistance. CDC is also expanding tracking of this fungus through the Emerging Infections Program. Information gathered through these networks plays a key role in tracking resistance and informing policies and interventions.

The challenge of emerging antibiotic resistant threats like C. auris highlights the need for urgent, coordinated federal, state, local, and international public health response and the importance of CDC’s AR Solutions Initiative. The timely investments in the AR Solutions Initiative empower CDC to rapidly detect, investigate, and respond to emerging threats, like C. auris; prevent resistant infections from occurring and spreading across healthcare settings and the community; and innovate, supporting development of new diagnostics and drugs to test, treat, prevent infections, and save lives.

For more information about how Sentry can implement a custom solution to meet your unique pharmaceutical supply chain challenges, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400, for a complimentary, no obligation phone call with one of Sentry’s problem-solving experts.

For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/candida-auris.html

Sentry’s New Vaccine Storage Campaign

Sentry BioPharma Services is proud to announce its new vaccine storage and distribution services campaign. Sentry’s decade long commitment to protect product integrity  married with its state-of-the-art facility provides the life sciences industry with a unique level of quality, regulatory and operational advantages that strengthen the vaccine supply chain. Sentry’s vaccine program advantages include:

Proven Track Record of Compliant Vaccine Storage, Rotation And Vaccine Drug Distribution

vaccinecampaignSentry’s long and unblemished regulatory inspection history is a reflection of its superior approach to standard operating procedures and temperature sensitive product management.

Large Scale Repository and Tracking Capabilities Through Advanced Inventory Management Systems

Live 24/7 real-time inventory tracking ensures full visibility of inventory throughout an organization and accurate tracking compliant with GMP storage regulations 21 CFR Parts 210 and 211. High-touch communication with the Sentry Operations and Quality Teams provides proper distribution of vaccines for routine fulfillment or pandemic response.

Advanced Building Management Systems That Monitor And Control Temperature Of Storage Environments

Sentry’s validated cold chain storage environments minimize time-out-of-refrigeration (TOR) risks, helping to reduce or eliminate waste attributable to deficient storage methods. The facility’s multi-tiered security structure and flexible storage options help fulfill requirements for specific seasonal or stockpile campaigns.

Trusted By Hospitals, Government Healthcare Agencies, And Manufacturers To Protect Vaccine Products And Stockpile

Over its ten years as a contract service organization, Sentry has been a trusted partner to hospitals, vaccine manufacturers and government healthcare organizations concerned with drug product integrity, vaccine storage security, risk management and timely vaccine distribution.

For more information about how Sentry’s temperature sensitive product management expertise can help you optimize your seasonal vaccine stockpile requirements, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

Bring Your Brave: Breast Cancer Awareness Month Begins Today!

braveDid you know that one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime?  At that current rate, that means 13 million breast cancer deaths around the world will occur in the next 25 years.

The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being female) and age (growing older).  Other factors can be changed by making choices. By choosing the healthiest lifestyle options possible, you can empower yourself and make sure your breast cancer risk is as low as possible.

Reduce Risk Factors:

  • Do not smoke
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Exercise at least three hours per week or about 30 minutes a day
  • Eat a nutritious, low-fat diet (30 grams or less) with plenty of fruits and green and orange vegetables

The National Breast Cancer Foundation launches the annual campaign by raising awareness during the month of October.  The endeavor begins today, October 1, 2016 and lasts through the end of the month.  Getting a high-quality screening mammogram and having a clinical breast exam on a regular basis are the most effective ways to detect breast cancer early.

Early Detection Strategies:

  1. Recognize signs & symptoms
  2. Perform a monthly breast self-exam (BSE)
  3. Have an annual clinical breast exam
  4. Screen for abnormalities with a mammogram

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has established a uniform way for radiologists to describe mammogram findings. The system, called BI-RADS, includes seven standardized categories, or levels. Each BI-RADS category has a follow-up plan associated with it to help radiologists and other physicians appropriately manage a patient’s care.

bi-rads

Some state and local health programs and employers provide mammograms free or at low cost. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coordinates the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. This program provides screening services, including clinical breast exams and mammograms, to low-income, uninsured women throughout the United States and in several U.S. territories. Contact information for local programs is available on the CDC website or by calling 1–800–CDC–INFO (1–800–232–4636).

Information about free or low-cost mammography screening programs is also available from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Cancer Information Service at 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237) and from local hospitals, health departments, women’s centers, or other community groups.

For more information:

Sentry’s Controlled Substance Program Strengthens the Reliable and Secure Pharmaceutical Drug Supply Chain

Regulatory oversight shapes every dimension of controlled substances: licensing, registration, storage, security, use, inventory and controlled drug disposal. Finding a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) licensed partner to store, distribute and manage returns and destruction of Schedule III-V controlled substances while maintaining regulatory and quality standards required for a secure pharmaceutical supply chain can be a challenge. Sentry BioPharma Services provides seamless product management required to safeguard controlled substances which are brought into Sentry’s custody and care.

pills2

Features & Benefits of Sentry’s Controlled Substance Program

DEA Regulation Secure Storage – Inspected and approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration  in 2014, Sentry’s state-of-the-art controlled substance capacity provides secure and reliable storage to support your pharmaceutical supply chain needs.

Controlled Substance Importation/Exportation – Sentry’s controlled substance importation and controlled substance exportation capabilities provide pharmaceutical organizations unique flexibility in the drug supply chain. This coupled with Sentry’s high quality standards affords pharmaceutical companies a competitive advantage throughout the drug development process.

Redundant Systems and Extensive Security Measures Product safety, identity, strength, purity and quality (SISPQ) remain intact.  Sentry features which support this agenda include:

  • Auxiliary power feeds and back-up systems
  • Continuous (24/7) security monitoring
  • Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) status which allows controlled substances to be internationally shipped directly to Sentry where DEA, Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) and FDA clearances can be obtained within the security provided by Sentry’s GMP facility
  • Physical plant security
  • Redundant HVAC systems
  • Secure data and document programs

Pharmaceutical Labeling and Packaging – Sentry’s light pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities help streamline clinical trial distribution and commercial drug distribution with one stop shop GMP labeling and GMP secondary packaging.

Drug Product Return and Drug Disposal Services – Sentry completes the controlled substance supply chain with a full-service approach to product guardianship.  Our drug product return and drug destruction program ensures project integrity, reliable inventory tracking and public safety from development to launch.

For more information about how Sentry can provide controlled substance supply chain solutions for your project, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

Sentry Raises Public Awareness for DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative

As part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative (NTBI), people will be able to dispose of expired, unwanted or unused prescription drugs on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at numerous collection sites around the U.S.

The DEA collected a record amount of meds during the 11th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 30, 2016.  According to the DEA’s May 6, 2016 press release, the DEA and over 4,200 of its state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners collected 893,498 pounds of unwanted medicines—about 447 tons—at almost 5,400 sites spread through all 50 states, beating its previous high of 390 tons in the spring of 2014 by 57 tons, or more than 114,000 pounds.

dea-take-back-day

The top five states with the largest collections, in order, were:

  1. Texas (almost 40 tons)
  2. California (32 tons)
  3. Wisconsin (31 tons)
  4. Illinois (24 tons)
  5. Massachusetts (24 tons)

“I am very proud of our state officials and residents,” said Ms. Jennifer Marcum, Sentry BioPharma Services’ chief executive officer.  Ms. Marcum continued, “Indiana’s authorities collected 29,125 pounds (14.6 tons).  That’s an enormous amount of unwanted prescription drugs and controlled substances to be safely removed from the pharmaceutical supply chain.  The statistics best illustrate how much the people of Indiana care about this important matter; no question about it.”

Marcum continued, “During the event, people can anonymously bring unwanted prescription pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter (OTC) medications to a participating drop-off site for proper drug disposal by law enforcement authorities with no questions asked.  The service is free and an ideal way to preserve the environment from pharmaceutical contamination.  This is a terrific opportunity to safely dispose of accumulated prescription drugs and medications that may have expired or are simply unwanted.”

The FDA’s Ilisa Bernstein, Pharm.D., J.D., offers a few more helpful tips when discarding drugs:

  1. Scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.
  2. Do not give your medicine to friends. Doctors prescribe medicines based on your specific symptoms and medical history. Something that works for you could harm another person.
  3. When in doubt about proper drug disposal, ask your pharmacist.

For more information about the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative, general public inquiries can be made by calling the DEA toll free at: 1-800-882-9539.

If you would like to learn more about Sentry’s pharmaceutical drug destruction services, please contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

Features & Benefits of a Pharmaceutical Foreign Trade Zone

What is a Foreign Trade Zone?

The U.S. Foreign Trade Zone program was established by the Foreign Trade Zone Act of 1934 to “expedite and encourage foreign commerce” in the United States. Certain geographical areas, in or adjacent to Customs Ports of Entry, can obtain foreign-trade zone (FTZ) status and receive commercial merchandise under the same Customs standards as if it were outside the commerce of the United States. Any merchandise, including pharmaceutical products, admitted and held in a foreign trade zone can be exempt of any Customs duties, tariffs and other ad valorem taxes. No duty or back taxes are charged on “value-added,” or foreign-sourced parts or materials incorporated into a finished product using U.S. parts and labor until the product is officially imported into the U.S. Commerce. This tariff and tax relief lowers the costs of U.S.-based organizations engaged in international trade while creating and retaining employment and capital investment opportunities that result from those operations.

Benefits to the Biopharmaceutical Industryshutterstock_367703690

Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies can take advantage of Sentry’s GMP temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical storage and light manufacturing facility, which  resides in a foreign trade zone.  Sentry’s zone allows drug product to reside within the product’s designated temperature range, (such as API, biologics, controlled substances, etc.), while awaiting clearance for importation by the CBP and approved for distribution by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

During its stay in the FTZ, the biopharmaceutical  product can be further labeled and secondarily packaged  while greatly mitigating the numerous logistic and economic challenges encountered throughout the  drug importation and development process.

Logistic Benefits 

Unlimited Storage Terms Term of pharmaceutical material storage in an FTZ is indefinite.
Eliminated U.S. Quota Restrictions Product previously subject to quota limitations is now exempt from such restrictions.
Strengthened Foreign Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Eliminate administrative and importation hold-ups at Customs and ports of entry by bringing product straight to our GMP pharmaceutical storage environments ensuring product integrity: safety, identity, strength, purity and quality (SISPQ) along the drug supply chain.
Uninterrupted Local Manufacture Prior to Importation Product can be labelled, kitted and packaged and stored in the United States until need for importation into U.S. Commerce and Customs Clearance.
Expedited Release to Market Product can be held in an FTZ until FDA approval, greatly reducing time and logistic hassle from manufacturer to end-user.

Economic Benefits 

Duty Deferral or Duty Aversion  Import, admit and hold product without paying U.S. Customs duties.
Zero Inventory Taxes All materials held in an FTZ are exempt from state, county and local ad valorem taxes.
Country of Origin Marking and Labeling Country-of-origin labels are non-required on product admitted to an FTZ freeing companies from this expense.

Sentry BioPharma Services’ pharmaceutical supply chain management expertise and FTZ status across all storage environments ensures product integrity and project management flexibility.

For more information about how Sentry’s Foreign Trade Zone can help you optimize your medical and pharmaceutical import/export process, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

Read more about the Greater Indianapolis Foreign Trade Zone: inzone.org

Operation Silver Snake Sets CBP Field Operations Seizure Record in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Last month, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) San Juan Field Operations announced that approximately 268 seizures were made of counterfeit products, valued at $2.4 million, which were illegally imported into Puerto Rico via international mail.  This is a record number of counterfeits seized by CBP in Puerto Rico during a single week.

A wide range of counterfeited products was seized during the week-long enforcement effort, called Operation Silver Snake, to include: consumer products, apparel, footwear, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and more.

CBP Operation SS (1)

International Mail packages are inspected by CBP to verify compliance with US laws

This is the second iteration of a week-long operation carried out in San Juan this year by the Mobile Intellectual Property Enforcement Team (MIPET), with the support of CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEEs), IPR-National Targeting & Analysis Group (NTAG), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

“Our dedicated CBP officers, Import Specialist, International Trade Specialists and Seized Property Specialists were key ingredients to this successful enforcement effort to protect the U.S. economy and consumers from counterfeit products,” said Edward Ryan, Assistant Director of Trade for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. “We are looking forward to conducting follow-up operations with our partners to further protect legitimate businesses and consumers from intellectual property thieves, said Ryan.

Various international mail packages inspected by CBP officers at the San Juan International Mail Branch revealed products that infringed intellectual property rights.  The products were shipped from vendors in China.

CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement program.  CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR goods.

CBP Operation SS (2)

CBP Officers label counterfeit products seized during the operation.

To effectively enforce intellectual property rights, CBP relies heavily on the cooperation of the owners of these rights. If your intellectual property is registered with the Patent and Trademark Office, the Copyright Office or the subject of a United States International Trade Commission exclusion order, you will want to inform CBP.

Information about counterfeit merchandise being illegally imported into the United States can be submitted to the CBP using an on-line tool called E-Allegation.  The e-Allegation provides a means for the public to anonymously report to CBP any suspected violations of trade laws or regulations related to the importation of goods into the U.S.

For more information about how Sentry’s import/export team can add value to your international supply chain, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

Source: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/2016-07-20-000000/cbp-stops-millions-unsafe-counterfeits

FDA Removes Clinical Hold on Phase II of Juno’s “ROCKET” Trial

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, Juno Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies headquartered in Seattle, Washington, announced on the company’s website that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the clinical hold on the Phase II clinical trial of JCAR015 (known as the “ROCKET” trial) in adult patients with relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (r/r ALL).  Under the revised protocol, the ROCKET trial will continue enrollment using JCAR015 with cyclophosphamide pre-conditioning only.

CAR-T

Earlier this month Juno received notice from the (FDA) that a clinical trial hold has been placed on the pivotal clinical trial of JCAR015.  This Phase II clinical trial, also known as the “ROCKET” trial, was being conducted in adult patients with relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (r/r ALL).  As of last Friday, a total of three deaths have occurred in adult patients during clinical trials.

According to an article published by FierceBiotech on July 8, 2016, “All three deaths were in young patients, all under the age of 25, and all were due to cerebral edema.  All three of these patients were also on a preconditioning regimen of fludarabine.”

While this “living drug” may offer cancer patients a possible option where none previously existed, it is uncertain as to whether or not the class of chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T) treatments poses safety issues.  This new technology focuses on re-engaging a patient’s own immune system (T cells) via genetically engineering to recognize the antigen and kill cancerous cells.  One big question is:  Can this be done in conjunction with standard leukemia chemotherapy drugs like fludarabine and cyclophosphamide?

The removal of the clinical hold suggests that the FDA appears to satisfied with Juno’s response in addressing worrisome side effect and safety concerns resulting from the reaction between JCAR015 and the chemotherapy drug fludarabine.

Phase I of the JCAR015 study had a “complete response rate” (i.e., detectable cancer did not appear present after treatment), this cancer treatment offers much promise and hope to individuals and families battling this devastating and too often fatal disease.

For more information about how Sentry can implement a custom solution to provide GMP storage for clinical trial materials and/or meet your unique biopharmaceutical supply chain challenges, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400, for a complimentary, no obligation phone call with one of Sentry’s problem-solving experts.

Sentry Strengthens the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Biological drugs are generally more delicate and sensitive to temperature than their
pharmaceutical counterparts, thus introducing risks into the global biopharma supply chain.
Longer transit times, extreme climate change between origination and destination, and shipping delays all increase the risk profile during transport.  Product compromise due to temperature fluctuation can cause millions of dollars in revenue loss and delay delivery of drugs and therapeutics to patients.  Sentry Biopharma Services strengthens the pharmaceutical supply chain by helping clients manage these risks.

MATURITY OF PHARMACEUTICAL COLD CHAIN MANAGEMENT

15 years ago cold chain management was still a buzz phrase that only a few companies could actually deliver.  However, the unique transportation challenges of biopharma products have driven the need to control temperature variability throughout the drug supply chain which has transformed pharmaceutical cold chain management into a burgeoning industry.  Specialized providers like Sentry BioPharma Services now offer dedicated services designed to preserve the integrity of biological products throughout all phases of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Large and small biotech organizations increasingly turn to these specialized providers in a shift from the traditional in-house pharmaceutical logistics model to an outsourced one.

SELECTING A PHARMACEUTICAL SUPPLY CHAIN PARTNER

Although outsourcing to a pharmaceutical supply chain provider can provide many benefits, not every potential partner has the capability to provide services on a global scale. A qualified cold chain logistics expert must be experienced and compliant in all facets of biopharma cold chain management.  This includes domestic and international shipping, drug product handling and tracking, GMP storage and international drug distribution. The provider must have the experience, systems and processes in place to handle the diverse and changing needs of the global biopharmaceutical industry. Criteria that biopharma manufacturers should consider when evaluating potential partners include:

  1. A robust quality systemglobe
  2. Specialized GMP storage facilities and equipment
  3. A reputation for technological innovation
  4. Compliance with global pharmaceutical cold chain regulations
  5. An efficient and reliable biopharma and logistics network
  6. Anti-counterfeiting capabilities
  7. Impeccable customer service record

PHARMACEUTICAL COLD CHAIN REGULATIONS & BEST PRACTICES

As pharmaceutical cold chain management has become a more critical component in the global biopharmaceutical supply chain, regulatory agencies and industry associations have been launched solely to develop standards for compliance in this market.  Achieving regulatory compliance was a much simpler task in traditional supply chain models of the past. Now, due to an increasingly complex set of social, scientific and political pressures, industry mandates and international regulations have become significantly more stringent. Each country has its own body of rules and guidelines governing the shipment and handling of pharmaceutical and biological products. A qualified pharmaceutical cold chain management and 3PL partner must demonstrate compliance with international guidelines.

In addition to mandates prescribed by external regulatory agencies, the industry has begun to develop its own body of industry-accepted standards for biopharmaceutical distribution and handling. Several prominent groups have been formed throughout the world to discuss regional challenges and issues; collaborate on problem-solving; examine emerging trends; and define industry best practices. A pharmaceutical cold chain management partner should be familiar with the standards being developed by leading international pharmaceutical discussion groups.

REPUTATION FOR PRISTINE QUALITY AND IMPECCABLE CUSTOMER SERVICE

A GMP-compliant third-party logistic (3PL) partner must be committed to excellence in quality control and customer service.  As an extension of the drug or vaccine manufacturer’s business, the pharmaceutical 3PL provider must operate as a vested stakeholder to protect product integrity as well as the manufacturer’s business viability and reputation in the marketplace. Measures of excellence in the pharmaceutical cold chain include:

  • A corporate culture of accountability and commitment to the mission
  • Knowledge of best practices for GMP storage, global drug distribution and vaccine management
  • Independent quality assurance personnel, processes and evaluations
  • Careful biological product handling and temperature-sensitive product shipping
  • A uniformed process for continuously improving quality, operations and customer service
  • A singular focus that allows the contract service provider to be an expert

SPECIALIZED GMP STORAGE FACILITIES

At various points in the pharmaceutical supply chain, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), excipients, components, intermediates and finished pharmaceutical products may need to be stored for varying lengths of time, from a few days to a several months.  Short-term or long-term GMP storage facilities might be needed to temporarily house: inventory overflow from a primary GMP warehouse; primary or secondary packaging components that are awaiting assembly; finished drug products that are awaiting international drug distribution; and/or inbound pharmaceutical product shipments that are clearing U.S. Customs. While several pharmaceutical small molecule formulations remain stable at ambient temperature conditions, many biologic products must be maintained within tighter temperature tolerances in refrigerated (+2°C to +8°C), frozen (-10°C to -20°C) and ultra-low storage (-70 to -90°C). Traditional pharmaceutical supply chain facilities are not always designed to accommodate these conditions.

In these situations, a cold chain logistics partner can provide immediate access to a state-of-the-art GMP storage facility that has been designed to meet the unique requirements of temperature-sensitive drug products. It must offer: validated, temperature controlled storage and temperature-monitoring equipment; redundant power, cooling and environmental monitoring systems; redundant data storage capabilities; and sophisticated data security systems.

For more information about how Sentry’s cold chain management programs can ensure biological product integrity in every phase of the pharmaceutical supply chain, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.