As we are all in lock down, hoping that “social distancing” is working and praying for those affected by COVID-19, how many of us have started to think about the aftermath of this crisis? We know a lot is going to change, and we will need to adjust to the “new normal”. Many industries will never be the same, and for others, business models will be changed considerably to adjust to the world we are re-entering.
We have seen the U.S. mobilizing to act and increase the production of medical supplies, ventilators, and N95 masks. And, we have seen both big and small companies independently making cloth masks and hand sanitizers.
It’s foreseeable that going forward all aspects of healthcare are going to be under pressure or even government directive, to change production and supply strategies to address the long-term planning for COVID-19.
Here are three areas in Pharma manufacturing likely to have new requirements:
- Drug supply and pharmacy readiness. Pharmacists, through ASHP.org, have already issued recommendations to federal policymakers to ensure the security of our drug supply chain and readiness of our clinical pharmacy infrastructure to respond to outbreaks such as COVID-191. Those recommendations include:
- Requirement that manufacturers conduct periodic risk assessments of their supply chains and establish contingency plans to maintain the supply of a drug in the event of a manufacturing disruption
- Requirement to conduct a risk assessment of national security threats associated with the manufacturing and distribution of critical drugs
- Incentivize domestic, advanced manufacturing capacity
- Production strategies and methods. Many pharmaceuticals today are manufactured through a “just-in-time” process utilizing API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) that enables fast production and packaging. The problem with this process is that any breakdown in the supply chain or a lack of redundancies can disrupt supply. For at least the critical drugs in COVID-19 patient treatment, we are likely to see both changes in supply sources and in the desire to hold stock of a final product allowing us to be more responsive to future outbreaks that may occur.
- Production transparency and drug stability testing. Unrelated to COVID-19, on April 1st, 2020, the FDA requested the removal of all ranitidine products (Zantac) from the market2. There is an ongoing FDA investigation of a contaminant known as NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) in ranitidine. The FDA has determined that the impurity in some ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures, may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of this impurity. The alarming aspect of this investigation is the effect of elevated storage temperature on the number of contaminants found. Both changes to the quality of supply and the chain of quality control during storage are likely to occur as a result of this investigation.
What do changes in healthcare mean for suppliers of products and services for manufacturing?
- There is going to be a stronger need for consulting, for both manufacturing and for warehouse automation, to increase capacity and supply on-hand of critical drugs and healthcare items, along with increasing levels of automation in production.
- Projects under government directives are likely to be fast-tracked, so know who your key suppliers are and communicate your project needs.
- Technology is likely to play a key part. Implementing robotics, wireless systems, RFID, IoT and Edge network devices are key to modern supply chains and for cold chain logistics with tracked inventory. Plan your network strategy along with your manufacturing design.
How can Panduit help you plan?
- Panduit’s Industrial Network Infrastructure portfolio is based on pre-configured solutions or building blocks that enable fast design and deployment of the network infrastructure for manufacturing.
- Panduit has identified the standard and industrial network product sets identified for use in warehouse automation and cold storage to aid your warehousing and distribution center designs. To learn more, check out these popular configuration drawings for Warehouse Machinery (PCD013) and Warehouse Facility Networks (PCD015).
- Panduit enables both training of Partners and Panduit Certified Designs through our Panduit ONE Partner program, ensuring designs are built to the standard of network industry professionals.