By Kevin Lawler, Pelican BioThermal Vice President of Sales
As we cross the threshold into a new decade in 2020, it’s a time to take stock of the significant changes that transformed the pharmaceutical cold chain industry during the past decade. The years from 2010 through 2019 indelibly altered the landscape of pharmaceutical development and delivery, introducing both life-saving breakthroughs and unprecedented business pressure.
A decade ago, costly biologics and a variety of cell and gene therapies were far outpaced by conventional chemical-based therapy. Traditional pricing models were standard practice. Technology was just trickling into healthcare with the push for electronic, portable health records. Sustainable practices were good to have — not a key decision-making factor.
With global pharmaceutical sales projected to climb to $1.18 trillion by 20241, it’s a certainty that change will continue into this next decade. The following four predictions are what we see on the immediate and not-so-distant horizon that will continue to transform the pharmaceutical and cold chain industries.
Ramping Up for Cell and Gene Therapy
Cell and gene therapies provide great promise for developing effective patient-specific treatments based on a person’s unique genetic and cellular make up. But these 1:1 therapies come at an incredibly high cost. With more cell and gene therapies expected to be approved in 2020 and beyond we anticipate this sector of the pharmaceutical industry will continue to ramp up — which will add more complexity to cold chain distribution, both inbound and outbound – from and to the patient.
Looming Pricing Reform leads to Cost Pressure and Expanded Outsourcing
With increased public scrutiny on the price and accessibility of pharmaceuticals worldwide, there will be continued focus on bringing pharmaceutical prices down, which has the potential to dismantle long-standing pricing models for drug developers.
Technology Disrupts Cold Chain Distribution
At the beginning of this decade and prior, healthcare providers entered a transformational phase as they migrated to electronic health records. Technology is now present in the pharmaceutical manufacturing space in the form of automation to improve efficiency and optimization. While slower to advance, technology has recently begun to enter the pharmaceutical cold chain — and it’s now gaining more traction as the Internet of Things (IoT) progresses from intriguing concept to attainable reality.
Sustainability Driving Cold Chain Decisions
Not long ago, pharmaceutical manufacturers viewed sustainability advantages offered by packaging and transportation providers as a good thing, but not a deciding factor. As we move into 2020, that is completely shifting.
About the Author
Kevin Lawler is the Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Pelican BioThermal. During his ten years with Pelican BioThermal, the company has achieved average year-to-year skyrocketing growth rates of over 40 percent. With more than 25 years of successful sales leadership experience, Kevin has a strong history in building and leading sales organizations capable of producing strong and predictable growth. Kevin earned an MBA from the University of Montana and resides with his family in Stillwater, Minnesota.