Drug dose delivery and the impact of COVID-19

By Kevin Robinson 21-Jul-2022

With the side-effects of COVID and Brexit still impacting pharmaceutical supply chains, are drug manufacturing companies rethinking their dose form and delivery strategies? Dr Kevin Robinson talks to experts at Pfizer CentreOne to find out more

Noting the considerable growth in parenterals of all kinds, I ask whether ongoing supply chain issues are prompting a switch from one delivery mode to another?

“The after-effects of the COVID pandemic and geopolitical shifts such as Brexit continue to reverberate through pharma’s global supply chains,” acknowledges Jennifer Quint, Senior Manager, Technical Services. “However impactful and long-lasting the effects of these recent events may be, the industry was already coping with risk-prone global supply chains based on increasingly dated business models and a distinct lack of end-to-end visibility.”

“No drug strategy is launched without assessing the underlying supply infrastructure required to successfully manufacture the drug. But, it’s unlikely that the recent shocks to pharma’s supply chains will ever have enough influence to actually prompt a shift from oral forms to parenteral ones,” she adds.

“Think of it this way; drug strategies must consider every risk associated with developing the therapeutic potential of a given molecule (small or large). More often than not, the molecule will dictate the formulation and form … and no amount of supply chain risk could ever change that fundamental fact. Either the supply chain is viable enough to supply the manufacture the particular formulation and its form … or it’s not.”

In a post-COVID, post-Brexit world, pharma supply chain — not drug — strategies must evolve to meet market and patient expectations.

Andrea Franks, Global Development Services Lead, adds: “It can certainly be said that Brexit and COVID have had a negative impact on the viability of key drug manufacturing supply chains. Regardless of formulation or form, many of the key supplies required to manufacture all modalities were delayed or disrupted during the pandemic.”

“Vials, for example, are a simple but critical element of supply; one of Pfizer CentreOne’s suppliers went from a 12-week to a 6-month or more delivery cycle virtually overnight.”

“Ultimately,” Andrea concludes, “the impact of recent events presents yet another wake-up call for the industry. From critical disposables and consumables to excipients and active ingredients, the industry is recognising that it must continue to evolve its supply chain strategy and reduce risk to sustain the safe and reliable supply of pharmaceuticals to patients around the world.”

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