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Insulated packaging for pharmaceutical products: adopt a patient-centric initiative!

14 November 2017

In response to patients who have become decision-makers – because they are better informed – manufacturers of pharmaceutical products are increasingly opting for a patient-orientated or patient-centricinitiative. This involves responding to their needs and expectations by offering dedicated products and services. Here is an illustration regarding the management of medicines transported via the cold chain.

A new relationship between pharmaceutical laboratories and patients

supporting patients, managing medicines, the cold chain for medicines

A new relationship has developed between pharmaceuticals manufacturers and patients: patients are now at the heart of the healthcare system, involved and consulted by the laboratories during the various phases of development of the medicines. For their part, the laboratories are putting in place a range of procedures to ensure that treatments are correctly monitored and to ease the daily life of patients, particularly with the aid of digital tools.

Following a detailed study of the behaviour – and even the genetic heritage – of patients, the laboratories have now progressed well beyond the medicine itself: personalised treatments, support programmes for the patient from the start of his/her therapy, discussion platforms and meetings of patients. It is no longer a matter of providing a treatment and adapting the patient to it: now the treatments are matched to the typology of the patients themselves. A win-win relationship that enables the laboratories to hasten the development of medicines that satisfy the expectations of patients while allowing the patients to benefit from tailor-made treatments, accompanied by appropriate monitoring.

Medicines in the cold chain: 3 main priorities for educating and providing patients with tools 

This new initiative must also be characterised by the way in which the treatment is delivered – which is every bit as important as the treatment itself.

With the increase in chronic diseases across the world – cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory ailments, diabetes, cancers – more and more treatments must be transported via the cold chain. Between 2011 and 2017, the number of heat-sensitive healthcare products increased by 45%: 1 of every 2 medicines placed on the market is heat-sensitive!

Even so, there is still a need to educate and providepatients with tools when their treatments have to be storedin compliance withthe cold chain.

1/ Failure to comply with the cold chain can prove costly!


The financial losses caused by temperature excursions of the medicines transported via the cold chain are estimated to be
35 million dollars a year *, comprising:

  • The cost of the loss of value of the products (bearing in mind that products originating from biotechnologies are expensive products),
  • The cost of analysing the causes of the loss,
  • The cost of replacing the products,
  • The lost logistical costs.

Admittedly, implementing a process for managing the cold chain from the production site of the medicines through to the distribution to the patient can be complex and requires investment, but this investment is as nothing compared with the risk of financial and human losses if the cold chain were to be disrupted.

 2/ Maximising the patient’s uptake of treatments


50% of American and European patients fail to take the treatments prescribed for them, due to the
complexity of the daily management of the treatments , the stress involved and the lack of information and support . In the case of heat-sensitive medicines, the problem is even more acute, since they are primarily linked to long-term ailments. A lack of uptake of a treatment poses serious risks to the patient – the risk of complications, repeated admissions to hospital and even death. It is therefore essential to publicise and create awareness on the pharmaceutical cold chain and to simplify the daily life of patients by also concentrating on the way in which the treatments are delivered.


3/ A patient who is informed and equipped with toolsis a well cared-for patient

A medicine exposed to unsuitable temperature conditions during transport or storage may be ineffective at best and – at worst – harmful to the patient. Moreover, the risks of temperature excursions are numerous, before the medicine even reaches the patient. These risks are all the more serious if the treatment is handed over to the patient without him/her beinginformed about the challenges of compliance with the cold chain and thus being provided with appropriate tools. It is thenvery important to provide patients with suitable insulated packaging solutions in order to guarantee the integrity of the medicines. Whether it is a case of going to the pharmacy to collect the medicine, taking the treatment to the workplace or while travelling, the duration of the journey is unimportant but the medicine must be stored strictly within the required temperature range. Assisting patients with the management of their heat-sensitive medicines on a daily basis is of prime importance in order to ensure the success of the treatment and the safety of the patient.

Would you like some assistance with your patient-centric initiative? Get in touch with our experts!

*Source: Cargo Sense, Cold Chain Shipping Loss in Pharmaceuticals – 2014

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