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Pharmaceutical Executive


Adaptation and Further Opportunities

For now, the industry is still focusing on the technological and compliance aspects of ePedigree implementation. And it's true: First we need to get the basics correct, and afterwards, additional value is sure to come along.

Many organizations will opt for basic compliance at the lowest cost. This compliance will be certification of chain of custody passing from point to point, up to and including the pharmacy. Others, however, will likely consider how to address the threat of counterfeiting, supply chain synchronization, event management, and other value drivers as part of a larger strategy not only to secure the supply chain, but also add enterprise value. That will be a remarkable shift in supply chain management because it will enable companies to fix problems before additional cost and customer dissatisfaction impacts the enterprise.

The time it takes to react to a customer complaint or a patient sickness from a counterfeit drug can be very bad for business. And the risk of not interceding in time—potentially resulting in deaths—is potentially devastating for a company. Enabling this part of the strategy can have substantial positive effects from a marketplace as well as economic value perspective.

The ability to leverage pedigree data and master quick interpretation and adaptability can result in a potential competitive advantage. After all, the true value of ePedigree and serialization resides in the ability to mine transactions across multiple parties. For example, improved inventory management could help an organization manage its product inventory by enabling effective returns processing, reducing counterfeiting, verifying diversion activities, and more. In addition, forecasting and planning processes could become more timely and accurate, and distribution channels could be managed more profitably.

In the future, further opportunity abounds. Companies may implement sophisticated pattern recognition algorithms to spot irregularities within the supply chain so that potential issues can be exposed and addressed quickly. Another vision is to one day use ingestible identifiers that have the potential to translate information on a number of key attributes, from who is taking the product to the time of day the drug is taken. This could lead to sweeping improvements to the entire healthcare industry, from improving adherence to reducing insurance claims and hospital stays, as well as many other positive healthcare system impacts that are unimaginable today.

Eventually, organizations that adopt this vision of a secure supply chain will be able to turn compliance into a marketplace advantage for their goods and services. Just think about it: How much safer would you feel with a company that stakes its reputation on the authenticity of its product? Just as green packaging, safety warnings, and other marketplace messaging has resulted in value selling, there is reason to believe that compliance with state and regulatory socioeconomic protection mandates could also serve companies well—if they take steps toward implementing an effective, market-worthy solution.

For many companies, meeting such regulatory mandates, even with the extended dates, represents an operational and technical challenge. However, these efforts represent only a piece of the puzzle to improving patient safety and protecting a brand. As companies continue to expand their global footprint, they need to ensure that their collaborations support the strategies of a secure supply chain. Not inspecting or forcing compliance on companies in India, China, Latin America, or even EMEA and North America leaves a time bomb ready to explode at any time. Organizations must continuously evaluate all components of their supply chain, and require all parties to comply without question.

Beyond what companies themselves do, states and other government agencies will likely be crafting laws and regulations that deal with the transformational implications of the digitized supply chain. Such laws and regulations will also have to consider the new global risks and challenges, technological advancements, and the fundamental, overarching question of how digitization will work on a global level.

Joe Slota is director of Deloitte Consulting LLP. He can be reached at
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Matthew Humphreys is senior manager of Deloitte Consulting LLP. He can be reached at


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