Pfizer executive: Drugmakers should 'rethink' supply chain logistics

With COVID-19 vaccine-makers pivoting production as the virus mutates, Jim Cafone, Pfizer's senior vice president of global supply chain, said it is time for pharmaceutical companies to redevelop their logistic strategies, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 24.

Mr.Cafone said the race in 2020 to develop, test and deploy a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine presented a new route for drugmakers to take during public health emergencies. 

"Nobody builds a network for a pandemic, and how do you then start to wean yourself off of that and start to build your network for an endemic world but with the ability to rapidly ramp or rapidly de-escalate?" Mr. Cafone said during the annual Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals conference. 

Because Pfizer had the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the U.S. at the end of 2020, the pharmaceutical company had to redesign its manufacturing, production and distribution processes for the vaccine. For instance, the extra-cold temperature at which the doses needed to be stored spurred innovation at the company for new shipping containers, the Journal reported. 

To "really rethink how you configure your supply chain," Mr. Cafone said, companies need to keep track of everything in their supply chain, including "how you plan it, how you procure, how you manufacture, and then the whole logistics side."

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