GDP-Compliant Transportation of Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical Logistics – Get GDP Into Motion

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How do you go about successfully implementing GDP-compliant transportation of pharmaceuticals? The road to achieving the safest possible transportation of pharmaceuticals starts with acquiring experience, knowing about the risks involved and regular analyses of all eventualities in order to protect the goods, the staff and the vehicles.


The first thing is to know and analyse the manufacturers requirements as the basis for the logistics process. What exactly is to be conveyed and under what temperature conditions? How is the secure handover of the goods to be organised and how will the temperature be monitored during transportation? What is to be done in the event of deviations?

If these and other questions have been answered and the basic processes are in place, then SOPs can be formulated, staff given GDP training and, finally, equipment can be purchased or modified in order to ensure GDP-compliance. The main purpose of the training is to make staff aware of the sensitive nature of the cargo and to practise measures to be implemented in the event of deviations and emergencies.

How all of this works in practice can be illustrated using the example of the specialist pharmaceutical logistics company Transco Berlin Brandenburg. The company from Ludwigsfelde in the greater Berlin area has been organising the conveyance of pharmaceuticals for over 24 years — in some cases for particularly demanding routes such as Berlin-Moscow.

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Maintaining the temperature is the biggest technical challenge, whilst quality control, customs regulations and tackling organised crime are the main organisational issues. This starting position was a crucial factor in revising its supply chain processes in advance of the GDP amendment being brought in.

As part of its “secure cold chain” project, from 2011 on the company devised a holistic pharmaceutical logistics concept — in close collaboration with external partners and with scientific support from the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau. The company had its refrigerated trailers qualified, organised GDP training and documented its internal processes.