What is the pharmaceutical supply chain

 What is the pharmaceutical supply chain: If you wonder how the pharmacies always have the right medicines for you, it is time you should know what the pharmaceutical supply chain is. There are over 1.5 million pharmacies worldwide catering to the medical needs of over 5.5 billion people. Hence the pharmaceutical supply chain is a complex and global process. It is the means through which medicines get manufactured and delivered to people.   Since medicines have become one of the vital needs for humans, it has to be available readily. Hence the stakes are high for all the stakeholders like manufacturers, wholesale distributors, pharmacies, and PBMs or pharmacy benefit manufacturers.

So, check out how the pharmaceutical supply chain works with the help of the best 3PL companies like Go Freight Hub.

The challenges of the pharmaceutical supply chain

The global pharmaceutical market size is a trillion-dollar industry to grow at a CAGR of 18%. From its 2020 value of 1228.45, it will increase to 1700.97 billion dollars in 2030. The rapid growth of the pharma industry has brought many challenges to its supply chain. Unlike other commodities any wrong delivery of medicines to patients may be dangerous and also affect the company’s reputation. Hence, an ineffective pharma supply chain could reduce the profits of the companies and the healing process of the patients. A few challenges that the pharmaceutical supply chain faces include visibility, drug counterfeiting, rising medical costs, cold chain shipping, and others for both consumers and providers.

The role of stakeholders in the pharmaceutical  supply chain

The role of all the stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain is crucial as it involves many medicines for different ailments, including life-saving medicines. Hence to overcome the challenges, the role of all the stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain is critical. The best 3PL companies need to provide the best cold chain storing and shipping facilities for the medicines. A challenging task is even a few minutes of not having the medicines at a proper temperature that should not be less even for one or two degrees. Only the best of them, like Go Freight Hub, can store and transport life-saving medicines with self-owned temperature-controlled trucks and store them in state-of-the-art facility warehouses. The role of the other stakeholders includes.

Pharmaceutical manufactures

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are of four categories making patented products, generics, biologics, and biosimilar products. They have the maximum influence for fixing the prices, creating demand, projected marketing costs, and competition.   Researches confirm all of it for establishing WAC or wholesale acquisition cost. Brand medicine manufacturers spend money on research and development of new drugs to patent and sell for many years. The generic medicine manufacturers do not spend money on research but focus more on making generic products for competing with the patented medicines directly upon their expiry.   Manufacturers also manage the distribution of medicines from production point to the pharmaceutical wholesale distributors.

Pharmaceutical wholesale distributors

Upon receiving the medicines from the manufacturers, the wholesale distributors distribute them to the pharmacies.   A few wholesale distributors may sell medicines to wide range of potential clients, specific biologic products. They avoid the direct distribution of manufacturers to the numerous pharmacies in any country. The wholesalers will have warehouses in strategic points to store medicines safely and deliver them to pharmacies within many miles.


Pharmacies account for over 75 % of the prescription drug market and include independent and chain pharmacies. Also, big box stores and food stores have pharmacies and specialty pharmacies that focus on providing high-cost biotechnology medicines.   Online and mail order pharmacies are on the rise worldwide because of the demographic shift and mandate use by significant PBMs in specialty pharmacies.


PBMs or pharmacy benefits managers in the pharmaceutical supply chain focus on improving access, cost savings, safety and convenience for consumers, government programs, unions, and employers. They provide many services like claims, adjudication, reporting, rebate negotiations with manufacturers, and developing pharmacy networks.

The above facts, challenges, and roles of the stakeholders will surely help you know what the pharmaceutical supply chain is, including the role of the best 3PL companies like Go Freight Hub.

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