Pharmaceutical cold chain monitoring is particularly topical at the moment. In April, CNN reported that at least 170 countries had administered more than 733 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. While vaccine roll-out strategies differ from country to country, the pharmaceutical cold chain is being put to the test like never before. This high-stakes industry is facing challenges on multiple fronts. However, smart technologies are stepping in to give supply chain operators the simple power of effective monitoring to great effect.

Challenges of the pharmaceutical cold chain

The pharmaceutical cold chain is nothing new. The COVID-19 vaccines require cold temperatures to remain viable. With the focus on fast, effective, global roll-out of the vaccine, the role of smart technologies in monitoring cold chains has been fast-tracked. Simply put, a few of the key challenges include:

  • Maintaining temperatures throughout the entire supply chain, logistics, and storage journey, without disruption
  • Multi-location monitoring
  • Standardised monitoring
  • Manual data tracking
  • The role of temperature and additional conditions like shock in the integrity of shipments
  • The limited shelf life of many pharmaceutical products
  • It has been reported that 30% of deliveries are made with a degree of degradation or spoilage

Pharmaceutical cold chain monitoring in action

Pfizer has opted to use smart technology sensors to aid in monitoring the cold chain for vaccine deliveries. This is being implemented from the manufacture location to the point of inoculation to ensure efficiency. This has shown how these sensors are benefiting the cold chain in practice. Most notably, one shipment in California was diverted from delivery when sensors alerted them that the temperature had dropped below the desired threshold.

The affected vaccines didn’t leave the truck, were returned immediately to Pfizer, and a replacement shipment was immediately despatched to take its place. This is one example of how real-time tracking and monitoring allows the company to step in to counteract issues in the cold chain.

The opportunities created by pharmaceutical cold chain monitoring

What are some of the features of cold chain technology?

  • Real-time monitoring through a system of IoT-enabled sensors and tags
  • Wireless transmission of data – globally and even in remote locations
  • Remote accessibility utilising cloud-based reporting systems
  • Condition monitoring for metrics beyond temperature
  • Seamless administration and reporting
  • Automation opportunities
  • Actionable notifications make for minimal losses and degradation
  • Data insights protect patients and end-users

Making the move to smarter pharmaceutical cold chain monitoring

The range of cold chain monitoring smart technologies on offer from Smarter Technologies Group aims to simplify this traditionally challenging industry. These technologies are perfect for on-site use during manufacture, distribution, customs clearance, storage, and delivery to the end-user.

These are exciting times for advancements in the pharmaceutical cold chain. These customisable solutions ensure consistency and steady supply of vaccines and pharmaceuticals at this challenging time in history. Undeterred by location, shipment size, or storage requirements, smart technologies are perfectly adapted to ensuring as many vaccines are delivered and administered to those who need them around the world.

Contact Smarter Technologies Group to find out more about smart technologies for cold chain monitoring.