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Delivering healthcare to the world


Maurice Meade

Managing Director of DHL Global Forwarding, Ireland


Gill McCann

Head of Life Sciences, DHL Supply Chain Ireland

Twenty-four of the top twenty-five global pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies are based in Ireland. Six of the world’s ten top-selling drugs are produced in the country too.

Supporting Irish pharma’s diverse supply chain needs

Ireland is the largest net exporter of pharmaceuticals in the EU and a globally-recognised centre of excellence for the sector.

Supply chain and transportation services are vital within the life sciences sector particularly in supporting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to establish a manufacturing base in Ireland. This support can exist through pre-construction logistics, capital transfer and bespoke packaging and transportation solutions, including the provision of state-of-the-art, licensed facilities.

New therapies will demand new skillsets

Like many industries, the life sciences sector is in the midst of profound change. The industry has always prioritised quality and security in its supply network, and those attributes are still going to be vital. The big, emerging challenge for companies, is going to be finding ways that they can use their supply chains to reduce the cost of healthcare delivery, while improving service to patients and providers. That’s going to require increased emphasis on agility, flexibility and the creation of innovative new offerings, according to Maurice Meade, Managing Director of DHL Global Forwarding, Ireland.

24 of the top 25 global pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies are based in Ireland…

“To address these challenges, healthcare supply chains are starting to capitalise on opportunity offered by big data and advanced analytics. Valuable customer insights are gathered by the use of tags monitoring location and temperature throughout a journey, enabling better decisions around route, packaging and handling of their valuable cargo.”

Scientific advances in medicines and breakthrough therapies will bring new challenges for manufacturing and supply chains; getting sensitive, time-critical medicines to global patients and dealing with the challenges of 3D printing of medicines, personalised medicines and gene therapies. Staying abreast of these advances in medicines, many driven by research organisations and academic collaborations within Ireland is key. “We support an incredible industry and are very proud to be part of the supply chain that gets these critical medicines to patients. Going forward, our role will be to support industry in developing the means to get these new and complex therapies to patients, often with very short lead times and with stringent security and compliance concerns,” says DHL Supply Chain Ireland’s Life Sciences Head, Gill McCann.

Connectivity in and out of Ireland

“Ireland may be located on the periphery of Europe, but that doesn’t affect our ability to deliver finished goods and clinical trials samples and supplies on a next-day basis to Europe and the US. We have full access and integration with GDP-compliant, temperature-controlled transport services by air, road, ocean and express,” adds McCann.

An integrated global network

“Many companies are beginning to recognise the benefits of a more integrated approach to supply chain management” says Meade. “Traditionally companies have managed their inbound supply chain at a plant level.”

By enabling a more holistic view of the inbound supply chains International delivery networks have enabled complexity to be reduced and visibility from pick up to point of delivery achieved making them more agile and responsive to market demand and allowing them to reduce the amount of inventory sitting in warehouses and release working capital for other needs.

A supply chain for life-saving/life-sustaining medicines

The life sciences supply chain touches the lives of so many people, every day of every week and this is where global expertise is essential. At the end of runway two at Dublin international airport, customers’ rare medications can be stored and packed in a secure, GDP-compliant temperature-controlled, pharma-grade location, then quickly shipped to the four corners of the globe via a guaranteed-integrity end-to-end cold chain. These include high value drugs for the treatment of chronic and ultra-rare conditions that need to be transported securely, quickly and with full visibility from Ireland to emerging markets all over the world.

Ireland remains ideally placed to manage Global and European pharmaceutical and clinical supply chains. Supply chain and transportation services help the industry operate compliantly, safely and efficiently and ensure the continued provision of life-sustaining and life-transforming medicines to patients worldwide out of the centre of excellence that is the island of Ireland.

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