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Understand How Pharmaceutical Warehousing Works

Understand How Pharmaceutical Warehousing Works

According to the Mayo Clinic, 71% of Americans take at least one prescription drug. These drugs can have life-saving or even life-saving benefits. However, quality and potency must be maintained from the point of production to the moment they are consumed. To ensure that these drugs are safe and in optimal condition, great care must be taken across the supply chain.

Therefore, pharmaceutical warehousing is more than just the storage of products. It preserves the integrity and safety of drugs that have a significant impact on the well-being of millions of Americans.

Information about Pharmaceutical Warehousing

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates pharmaceuticals very strictly. The FDA’s regulations for the industry are known as Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMPs) or “Good Manufacturing Practice” (GMP) standards. These standards apply to warehouses, processes, and to the drugs themselves.

The following CGMPs are related to warehousing:

  • To prevent contamination of drugs, they must be kept safe and properly positioned so that inspection and cleaning can be done.
  • Every lot of drug products should be identified by a unique (and traceable code) and must also be identified as to their status (approved, rejected, quarantined, or in-process).
  • The distribution process must be described in writing. These procedures include recall procedures.
  • Written procedures should describe the proper storage conditions for each drug.
  • This is a major problem in pharmaceutical warehousing. Different drugs have different storage requirements. Each drug must be stored in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements.
  • This can involve temperature-controlled warehousing and/or climate-controlled warehousing space – both of which require state-of-the-art control and monitoring equipment to keep the space within specific environmental parameters.

Temperature-controlled space requires sophisticated control and monitoring equipment to ensure that the temperature of the facility stays within very specific parameters.
Climate-controlled space controls and monitors the temperature as well as the humidity.

Choose a Warehousing Partner

There are many things you should look for when looking for a logistics partner to manage a pharmaceutical warehouse operation. A potential logistics partner must be able to demonstrate the following in addition to the CGMPs mentioned above:

  • It should be clean, have enough storage space that allows inspection and maintenance, and be easy to maintain. The facility should provide adequate lighting, ventilation and other environmental conditions to store the drugs. A quarantine area should be provided for expired drugs or drugs that are not able to be used.
  • Security systems and processes must be capable of preventing unauthorized entry to the facility and protecting against theft.
  • According to FDA, drugs that do not have specific storage requirements should be kept at “controlled temperature”
  • Provider inventory and WMS systems should be able to provide visibility into product locations.
  • Logistics partners must be able to provide written documentation regarding policies and procedures, inventories, and distribution.

Kanban Logistics for Pharmaceutical Warehousing

Kanban provides climate-controlled storage at fully-RF-enabled warehouses located in Plymouth and Rocky Mount (NC), with traceability down to the lot level. These services are only available to a few eastern North Carolina logistics providers.

One of the key market drivers for pharmaceutical logistics is the expiration of patents on many new drugs before 2017. As a result, there will be more pharmaceutical products on the market. As the cost of transport is determined based on distance and goods transported, the increase in pharmaceutical product volume will have a positive impact on revenue.

Competitive vendor landscape

The global pharmaceutical logistics market is highly fragmented with a substantial number of small and big players. These companies compete for secure supply chain functions and cloud-based solutions. This market is dominated by the pharmaceutical warehousing manufacturer’s segment. Global pharmaceutical manufacturers are just as fragmented as the global logistics market.

3PL logistics companies are concerned about the product diversification of pharmaceutical manufacturers. These evaluations will constantly change the product portfolios of pharmaceutical players, as pharmaceutical products continue to evolve. Because each product requires its own type of transport and storage, the 3PL players will be affected by frequent changes to their product portfolio.

Top five pharmaceutical logistics market vendors

Deutsche Post DHL Group

Deutsche Post DHL Group offers a wide variety of temperature-controlled logistics solutions. These include transportation, storage, and end-to-end supply chains solutions for two industries: healthcare and life sciences.


FedEx Express is a provider of solutions for the life-science and healthcare industries. FedEx offers products for the healthcare and life sciences industry, including medical devices, biotech, and pharmaceutical diagnostics, equipment, and clinical trials.

SF Express

SF Express offers international and domestic express delivery options to a broad range of customers. The company owns 13 cargo aircraft and has a fleet that includes more than 30. The company has opened over 500 community online shops in China, except Qinghai or Tibet, since 2016.


UPS provides logistics solutions for many industries. The healthcare industry includes pharmaceutical logistics. It offers complete logistic services in pharmaceutical logistics. UPS provides warehousing and distribution services, as well as transportation and tracking services.

World Courier

AmerisourceBergan Corporation is the parent company of World Courier. It is a global provider of healthcare and pharmaceutical logistics services. Also, it specializes in the transport of time- and temperature-sensitive shipments for goods and various components across different industries, such as automotive, oil and gas, agrochemicals, and food.

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