The last mile – this is what logistic service providers are afraid of: nightmare, black box, problem are just some of the words with which it is described. At the same time, the last mile is of immense importance. If medication gets ineffective on this last transport, all effort before is in vain.
In large refrigerated containers, the medication is sent to the depots close to the clinical trial site. There, the shipping is broken down into many small-volume units. These are being packaged for dispatch to the clinic, the pharmacy, for shipping directly to the patient or to a home trial support service.
Excursus: Direct to patient delivery in clinical trials takes place only in a few federal states in Germany. Many local health authorities regard the blinding as being in danger. In other countries, such as the US, Spain or France, however, direct to patient deliveries are already in place. Thus, one hopes to attract more subjects for clinical trials, which do not drop out of the study prematurely. Treatment at home without frequent doctor’s visits could be an incentive.
Data logging & last mile
To the depot the path of the medication, the temperature curve, humidity, etc. is well documented. New technical developments make tracking possible even during flights. Due to loggers placed at several points of the pallet, in the different packing layers, temperature deviations and deviations of humidity during transport do not go unnoticed. The last mile, however, is relatively poorly documented:
- No geolocation tracking: Trackers would be too expensive in regard of the numerous individual packages.
- Cost-intensive temperature loggers, which record the temperature curve, are rarely used. More common are loggers, which solely provide information whether the temperature has been exceeded.
The use of cost-intensive tracking technology is not worthwhile also because the transport boxes are often not returned by their recipients to the logistic service providers. The passive transport boxes are partly disposed of after single use, whether they are made of reusable material or actual disposable boxes. This also is due to the mostly poor visual appearance of passive transport boxes. If the logistics service provider does not become active and prompts the addressees to return the boxes or pick them up again, the fate of many boxes is sealed. An unnecessary burden on the environment.
In the future: even more last mile
It is apparent that transports on the last mile will increase. This is due to the trend towards direct to patient deliveries. Currently, at least in Germany, this is usually still within the range of treatment with so-called orphan drugs – medicines for rare diseases. In other countries, this trend has already developed further. So it is only a matter of time, when more medicine is being distributed directly to the patient here.
Logistics service providers will have an even larger number of transport boxes in circulation in the future. These must be small, flexible, safe, reliable and cost-effective in their use.
With Nelumbox pro we develop the solution for this.