Supply Chain Security Goes High Tech To Cut Losses
By Ed Miseta, chief editor, Outsourced Pharma and Clinical Leader
If anyone can be called an expert on pharmaceutical shipments, Chuck Forsaith certainly fits the bill. Forsaith is director of supply chain security at Purdue Pharma Technologies and chairman of the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC). He previously served as a municipal and state police officer, as well as directing security operations at a U.S. military installation. When it comes to the safety of pharmaceutical shipments, he believes security is getting better, resulting in a dramatic decrease in security breaches. However, there is still a lot more that can be done to make everyone more vigilant and hopefully put an end to the huge financial losses and health risks posed by the theft of pharmaceutical products. The ramifications of poor security cannot be overemphasized. As Forsaith notes in every presentation he gives, no one has ever suffered an adverse medical event from watching a stolen television set.
Speaking at the 2013 Global Pharma Manufacturing Summit in Boston, Forsaith started the discussion by outlining the risks of a pharmaceutical hijacking. If a shipment valued at $2 million is lost, there is obviously the cost of replacing the product. However, when the loss is disclosed to government regulators, the manufacturer may be required to recall the existing product currently in circulation and place it on hold until the lost shipment is recovered. While the shipment is missing there can be a loss of business to a competitor, while the announcements of the loss can hurt the reputation of a company. Finally, the affected firm can also expect a significant increase in insurance premiums. In the long run, that $2 million hijacking could cost a firm as much as $10 or $20 million.