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4 Ways Digital Data Monitoring Strengthens the Resilience of Pharmaceutical Supply Chains

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Each link in a pharmaceutical supply chain can work to optimize resilience through digital monitoring data.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pharmaceutical supply chains rely heavily on temperature and vibration monitoring
  • Human error can be reduced by replacing manual data logging with connected
  • Reliable data logging can increase collaboration and problem-solving between all stakeholders in the supply chain

The state of the industry

According to a recent study, The pharmaceutical industry loses “an estimate of $35 billion every year due to issues storing and transporting temperature sensitive medical products, such as vaccines.”

With increasing inflationary pressures, geopolitical risks, spiraling fuel costs, and the effects of climate change on the production and shipping of sensitive products, stakeholders must brace themselves for a more volatile future.

A complex supply chain

The pharmaceutical supply chain network is a very complex one requiring stakeholders and various steps that must be followed to ensure medicines are available, safe, and easily accessible to consumers.

A typical pharmaceuticals supply chain involves 3 critical stakeholders:

  1. Manufacturer: Produces pharmaceuticals in a manufacturing site.
  2. Wholesale distributor: Gets pharma products from manufacturers and distributes them to pharmacies
  3. Pharmacies: Administers pharmaceuticals to consumers

The pharmaceutical supply chain faces several issues, including a mix-up of raw materials, temperature control issues, supply chain visibility, counterfeiting, and overpricing, among others.  

Successful pharmaceutical supply chains have teamwork at their core. From manufacturing through packaging and transportation to end-point storage and distribution, everyone must be on the same page to ensure product quality and performance. 

Here’s how digital monitoring data enhances the resilience of the pharmaceutical supply chain.

1. Real-time monitoring 

Even the slightest adjustment in environmental conditions can make pharmaceutical products very dangerous for consumers and handlers. Damages can also lead to hundreds of millions in losses for manufacturers. 

Temperature monitoring sensors are the primary features of digital data monitors. These relatively tiny GPS/GSM-enabled devices provide live temperature updates along the end-to-end pharma’s journey from the manufacturer to the consumer.

The fundamental principle of a sensor operation is the voltage adjustment in the Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) terminals. They consist of two metals that generate electrical voltage when there’s a change in temperature by measuring the voltage and resistance across the diode terminals. 

With sensor technology, instant monitoring of the pharmaceuticals supply chain can be made. This way, even the slightest quality issue can be prevented through instant action. 

2. Ensure ambient conditions during pharmaceutical production

Manufacturing pharmaceuticals is composed of several steps that result in the finished product. The production process involves four main steps:

  • Blending: Involves mixing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and excipients. The process is delicate and requires strict adherence to details. 
  • Drug coating: This involves applying a dry outer covering to a drug. Drug coating is done to mask the bitter taste and undesirable odor of some drugs.
  • Granulation: Granules can be formed without the use of a liquid solution in dry granulation. Wet granulation requires adding water or other solvents to form granules from powdered particles.
  • Drug milling: Used to reduce drug size for effective delivery and performance.

Each step of pharmaceutical production requires control and facilitation of suitable conditions and adherence to industry best practices. 

3. Temperature and humidity compliance 

As per The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements, “pharmaceuticals must be continuously kept between two degrees and eight degrees Celsius (35 to 46 °F) or between 15 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius (59 to 77 °F).”

The right temperature control helps maintain the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals’ active ingredients. For pharmaceuticals, losing efficacy means wasting very expensive products or giving ineffective drugs to people.

Maintaining such a temperature range is only possible with digital data monitoring. The digital data monitoring devices ensure the ideal temperature and humidity ranges are defined in the pharmaceuticals supply chain. 

These devices monitor the conditions in real-time, and in the event of out-of-range values, the system instantly notifies the cold chain coordinator via SMS or e-mail.

4. Increased collaboration

The old supply chain model of point-to-point connection is becoming a thing of the past. Thanks to technology, supply chain digitization is a vital part of this era. It redefines how global supply chains work and deliver value.

Hardware technologies, cloud computing, big data, and advanced analytics are at the core of supply chain digitization. Together, these technologies deliver exceptional benefits.

Digital monitoring devices were made with connectivity in mind. Modern data loggers, such as Marathon Products’ EDL-WiFi –80°C, have connectivity features that allow connecting to a network. These data loggers continuously and remotely update the information over the network. Every person connected to the network can access the data from anywhere in the world.

Improved information sharing, collaboration, and problem-solving is a gamechanger in the pharmaceutical industry. It creates opportunities to identify bottlenecks across the supply chain through enhanced visibility and traceability of the products from the manufacturer to the end user. 

Why does this matter?

The pharmaceutical supply chain comprises several players, including manufacturers, distributors, pharmacists, and end users. Each player in the supply chain provides their link. 

Each link may include multiple players: the manufacturers of various drug components, the completed product, the warehouse where the pharmaceuticals are stored, the distribution centers, and finally, the consumer’s point of purchase.

Each link can work to optimize resilience through monitoring data. Unnecessary human error can be reduced by replacing manual data logging with connected.

Precision digital data monitoring devices enable this reduction in supply chain errors by providing means for better control over product and information flow across the pharmaceutical supply chain and fostering teamwork among the players.

This is Marathon Products

Talk of precision, and you’ll be talking about Marathon Products. We are the leading manufacturer and distributor of precision environmental monitoring devices for temperature, humidity, and vibration for the life sciences and semiconductor industries. 

Marathon Products are the culmination of 30 years of industry experience resulting in precision microelectronics that are thoroughly tested and calibrated to the highest standards. Want the best monitoring device for cold chain management? Don’t ship without the leaders – don’t ship without us! 

We supply solutions to fit every budget, and our experts are available to answer any questions. Contact us at or call 510-562-6450 for more information.

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