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Nippon Express to provide global pharmaceutical supply networks

8 Sep 2020

The company is already constructing a digital platform for the pharmaceutical industry that will utilize IoT devices and blockchain technology to link temperature control and other logistics information end-to-end.

Nippon Express is in the process of developing pharmaceutical supply chain networks that meet both hardware and software requirements for Good Distribution Practices (GDP) to enable safer and more secure supply of pharmaceuticals.

In view of the globalization of pharmaceutical supply chains, the company will also be setting up GDP-compliant business locations in major markets worldwide to enhance its supply networks on a global level.

Nippon Express is currently setting up pharmaceutical-specific facilities in East Japan, West Japan, Kyushu and Toyama to complement the 'medical hubs' of Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport, which have long been involved in the import/export of raw materials and finished products.

These facilities will be equipped to handle GDP-compliant quality control and business continuity plans pertaining to pharmaceutical supply, and platforms will be constructed to allow for joint warehouse storage and transport, operations heretofore carried out on an individual customer basis, to cope with the shortages of truck drivers stemming from the round use of vehicles, and to achieve greater operational efficiency. These facilities will go into service in February 2021.

More specifically, the company is building GDP-compliant CFS at key pharmaceutical business locations overseas. It has already opened GDP-certified CFS in London and Milan, which both host clusters of manufacturers of new drugs, as well as in India, where generics are driving robust market growth; in the US, GDP certification was acquired in Chicago.

In addition to enhancing business locations in Europe and the US, Nippon Express is planning to obtain GDP certification in Asian countries where medical services are becoming more widely accessible.

Furthermore, Nippon Express will be looking to employ the digital technologies of IoT (Internet of Things) and blockchain to track logistics information end-to-end, to optimize supply chains for the industry as a whole via a data-driven approach that offers traceability and increased operational efficiency.

To ensure it has in place the extensive expertise and strict quality control required for pharmaceutical logistics, Nippon Express created a Pharmaceuticals Business Division and a Pharmaceuticals Logistics Quality Assurance Office in July 2020 to establish uniform group-wide standards on, for example, operational frameworks, human resource development, quality assurance regimes.

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