Global pharma industry will spend $8.36 billion on cold-chain logistics in 2014

Pharmaceutical Commerce's latest report finds continued growth in these specialized logistics services

The 5th edition of the Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook analyzes economic, regulatory and technological trends in a vital part of today’s industry: the shipment of temperature-controlled products. The just-published report calculates that current (2014) expenditures for commercial shipments will be $8.36 billion, rising to $10.28 billion in 2018. By comparison, last year’s Sourcebook estimated the 2013 cold-chain business to be $7.5 billion, rising to $9.3 billion in 2017.

“Solid growth in the value of these services has been occurring for years now,” says Nicholas Basta, editor in chief and co-author of the publication, “and the drivers of that growth remain the same: a greater emphasis on biologically-originated drugs, and a tightening regulatory climate for both in-country and international drug shipments.” In particular, he notes, 2013 saw the establishment of Good Distribution Practices (GDPs) in the European Union; those GDPs, which require closer monitoring and documentation of shipments, are the model for recommended practices worldwide.

Cold-chain spending for 2014 is divided between an estimated $5.58 billion for logistics services (shipping and storage) and $2.78 billion for tertiary packaging—the insulated and refrigerated containers in which products are transported. Both of these parts of the business are seeing continuing innovation in service arrangements and technical solutions. “It’s remarkable how, year after year, vendors and service providers innovate new solutions for the industry, such as end-to-end electronic tracking of shipments, or tertiary packages that contain less mass or dead air, but last longer in keeping products within their recommended temperature range,” he says. “Still, there are parts of the industry, such as the shipment of controlled room-temperature (CRT) products, or last-mile delivery to the pharmacy or patient, where better temperature control needs to be established.”

There is also an examination of trends in clinical trial logistics (both temperature-controlled and CRT): the overall logistics spend is estimated at $2.99 billion currently, rising to $3.16 billion in 2018. Clinical trial spending is relatively flat; having dipped in the 2010-2011 period, and is slowly recovering. Overall global pharma R&D spending is estimated at over $130 billion, approaching $150 billion in 2018.

The Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook is available for purchase from Pharmaceutical Commerce; click here, or call (+1) 718 282 6112 for more information.