In the third and final installment of our supply chain blog series, we look at the big issue of risk and how this is managed and mitigated in pharma today.
The pharma industry has always been risk averse but even with a careful approach, some of the events of recent years would have been difficult to predict. The covid pandemic has certainly led to a rethink about the approaches and strategies to deal with risk to supply chains in the industry.
Building strategic resiliency
One of the lasting legacies of the pandemic disruption has been the need to build strategic resiliency in supply chains. The pandemic and other world events exposed the fragility of supply chains and the fact that there were often few or no contingencies in place, especially where there was a single point of failure.
We saw a number of strategies emerge to deal with this, such as dual sourcing, which provided great opportunities for CDMOs as it became more common and cost-effective to have two CDMOs set up to produce the same products rather than risk missing an important deadline. Now having drug sponsors with multiple CDMOs ready to go and having multiple supply solutions is becoming the norm across the industry.
Eye on stocks
While multiple suppliers are great for mitigating certain risks, it cannot solve the issue where there is not enough of a given material such as an excipient or an API. Whether you have 20 suppliers or one it’s the same problem and it’s important to consider solutions such as stockpiling and finding a trusted partner that can help in this situation where demand for a given material is particularly high.
All of our lives were turned upside down with the events of recent years and although things are largely back to normal, some of the solutions that came about because of the pandemic to help mitigate risk and reshuffle supply chains are here to stay.
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