One of the complexities of the modern pharmaceutical supply chain occurs when a pharmaceutical dispensing organization “outsources” the management of their on-premises inventory to their supplier, or “vendor”. This is known as Vendor Managed Inventory, or VMI. There are several good reasons this might be done, including eliminating the need to deal with issues that have more to do with supply chain execution mechanics and fluctuating supply and demand than they do with the core competency of dispensing drugs.
When VMI is used in the pharma supply chain the supplier is typically a wholesaler whose core competency is in dealing with those exact issues. That’s just what they do. The wholesaler benefits from the VMI relationship because they become the exclusive supplier to the VMI customer. VMI can be a “win-win” proposition as long as costs are kept in-check.
Not all prescription drugs will need to comply with the California pedigree law on January 1, 2015 or 2016. In fact, there are a number of important exemptions that cover entire classes of certain drugs and certain types of transactions for all drugs. The volume of drug packages that could escape being serialized and pedigreed by those effective dates is not huge, but if you are a manufacturer or wholesaler, you should familiarize yourself with the list of exemptions. If you are lucky enough to make or handle any of the exempt drugs or transactions you might as well take advantage of your exemption.
The wide-scale use of “inference” in the pharmaceutical supply chain is essential to the successful operation of a track & track or ePedigree system. Companies cannot be expected to open every case they plan to ship, or that they receive, so that they can figure out exactly which package-level serial numbers are involved. The use of the serial number packaging hierarchy, or, “Aggregation information”, to “infer” which packages are being shipped or received is the only way to maintain a level of supply chain efficiency that is close to pre-serialization levels. On the other hand, regulator acceptance of the use of inference in the supply chain has the potential to complicate their investigation of criminals.
In recognition of its importance in maintaining efficiencies, the California legislature instructed the Board of Pharmacy to draw up rules that would allow companies to optionally make use of it (see my essay “Inference in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain” for the exact text of the inference provisions of the California Business and Professions Code). It leaves the important question about who Continue reading How Should Inference Work?→
What was his crime? He was the person who ran the licensed wholesale drug distribution company formerly in South Carolina, Ocean Pharmed, that bought the Novo Nordisk insulin that was stolen in a cargo theft back in 2009. In his plea, Rodriguez admitted that all of the drugs that Ocean had sold into the supply chain had been obtained from unlicensed or otherwise illegitimate sources, like the stolen insulin.
“This group will develop standards to allow pharmaceutical supply chain parties striving to meet pedigree regulation requirements, by gathering and checking pedigree event data. Standards will also address data confidentiality and security. This MSWG will create
A) standard for security framework applicable to EPCIS and,
…a comprehensive exploration of the intersection between healthcare supply chains, track and trace technology, standards and global regulatory compliance
DISCLAIMER: RxTrace contains some of the personal thoughts, ideas and opinions of Dirk Rodgers. The material contained in RxTrace is not legal advice. Dirk Rodgers is not a lawyer. The reader must make their own decisions about the accuracy of the opinions expressed in RxTrace. Readers are encouraged to consult their own legal counsel and trading partners before taking any actions based on information found in RxTrace. RxTrace is not a vehicle for communicating the positions of any company, organization or individual other than Dirk Rodgers.