Ensuring That Patients are Put First in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

David L. Buss
David is CEO of DB Schenker USA, a 150 year old leading global freight forwarder and 3PL provider. David Buss is responsible for all P&L aspects in the United States, which is made up of over 7,000 employees located throughout 39 forwarding locations and 55 logistics centers

The pharmaceutical supply chain is burdened with great weight and responsibility. Medications and supplies must be transported carefully, often within a specific temperature range, while also fulfilling regulatory requirements and satisfying the demands of patients and their providers—which can vary from country to country. Not to mention infrastructure challenges with cold storage or unanticipated delays. Without patients, there would be no need for pharmaceuticals. So how can we change the system to ensure that patients are always the priority?

In this article, we’ll explore how to make changes so that patients always come first.

What Putting The Patient First Means in Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

In the pharmaceutical supply chain context, putting the patient first means considering their needs at every stage of the process. This includes everything from manufacturing and packaging to transportation and storage. When patients are put first, the quality of their medication is never compromised.

They always receive the proper dosage, at the correct strength, and within the prescribed timeframe. They also never have to worry about subpar or counterfeit medications, as supply chain safety is always a top priority.

Additionally, patients always have access to the medications they need when they need them. There are no shortages or delays due to issues with the supply chain. And finally, their privacy is always respected, and their confidential medical information is never shared without their consent.

What Factors Drive Patient-First Supply Chains?

There are three key factors that drive patient-first supply chains:-

1. Available Technologies

The first factor is available technologies. For the pharmaceutical supply chain to put patients first, systems and processes must be in place that allows for real-time tracking and visibility. This way, when patients need medication, they can be confident that it will be delivered as soon as possible.

Additionally, available technologies allow for better communication between all parties involved in the supply chain. This way, everyone is always on the same page and working towards the same goal: getting the medication to the patient as quickly and safely as possible.

2. Regulatory Requirements

The second factor is regulatory requirements. For a pharmaceutical company to operate, it must adhere to strict regulations set forth by government agencies. These regulations are in place to protect patients and ensure that they receive safe and effective medications.

Adhering to these regulations can be costly and time-consuming, but it’s essential to putting patients first. Not doing so could put patients at risk of receiving subpar or counterfeit medications.

3. Patient Access and Control

Pharmaceutical companies realize that if they want to make drugs that will improve or lengthen patients’ lives, it’s time to start listening to what those patients have to say about how exactly the medications should be delivered.

As a result, the days when pharma companies decide what’s best for their customers without input from said customers appear to be drawing close.

Patients should have a say in how they receive their medications and what type of packaging or delivery methods would work best for them. After all, it’s their medication, and they’re the ones who will be taking it.

Pharmaceuticals are a vital part of the healthcare system, and ensuring that patients are put first in the pharmaceutical supply chain is essential to providing quality care.

The Importance of Stakeholder Engagement in Pharmaceutical Supply Chains

To ensure that patients are put first in the pharmaceutical supply chain, companies must engage with all their stakeholders. This includes patients, healthcare providers, payers, and other interested parties. By engaging with these stakeholders, companies can better understand the needs and concerns of those affected by their decisions. Additionally, stakeholder engagement can help to build trust and improve communication between companies and their stakeholders.

One of the best ways to engage with stakeholders is to create a dialogue about the issues that are important to them. This can be done through face-to-face meetings, surveys, focus groups, or other means of communication. It is also important for companies to be open and transparent about their decision-making process so that stakeholders can provide input and hold them accountable. Additionally, companies should listen to stakeholders’ concerns and consider them when making decisions about the pharmaceutical supply chain.


Putting patients first in the pharmaceutical supply chain is a complex issue, but it is essential to providing quality healthcare. To do this, companies must be open and transparent about their decision-making process so that stakeholders can provide input and hold them accountable. By taking these steps, companies can create a supply chain focused on patients’ needs and the healthcare system’s overall effectiveness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s