Boost clinical supply chain performance using digital technologies

Deloitte’s ongoing analysis of 12 large biopharma companies reveals that R&D spending on innovative new drugs is not producing a commensurate return on investment (ROI). To help reverse ROI’s downward trajectory, biopharma companies of all sizes are reorganizing their clinical operations and reconfiguring clinical trials to increase efficiency, reduce cost, and better connect with patients. These actions are an important step forward; however, they may escalate cost pressures and create operational and regulatory challenges for companies’ clinical supply chains.

Five ways digital technologies boost clinical supply chain performance examines how five technology-powered capabilities can help improve biopharma companies’ clinical supply chain performance by enabling increased agility and improved results.

Cloud-enabled digital core
A digital core can give a clinical supply organization the ability to operate more efficiently, rapidly understand the current state, make informed decisions, better plan activities, and streamline processes. Cloud-enablement of the digital core may further expand information accessibility, increase information timeliness, and ease integration with third-party data sources.

Analytics-driven performance
On-demand access to clinical supply information and self-service analytics can help clinical supply managers address the complexity of large, geographically distributed trials, react quickly and accurately to change, and meet the evolving needs of new trial designs. Companies also may see non-direct improvements in areas such as site selection and third-party activity management.

IoT-powered, real-time quality monitoring
IoT-enabled sensor technology that captures and records drug, environmental, and patient adherence data in real time can generate rapid insights and evaluation. In addition, smart packaging, which allows delivery of sensor-driven product information at the patient level, can be used to track adherence, leverage mobile reminders to patients, and gather and analyze granular information for dosage tracking.

Blockchain-based product track and trace
Clinical supply blockchain can track product and data movement among partners throughout the delivery to investigative sites. Blockchain can improve material traceability, reduce losses from waste, help facilitate secure information sharing throughout the supply chain, and provide transparency and auditability to enable better compliance around outsourced manufacturing and inventory operations.

Mobile-centric digital patient experience
Mobile digital engagement technologies can help biopharmas support patients and care providers during the clinical trial; for example, by issuing drug adherence reminders, recording health data, and providing patients with important drug information. The clinical supply chain can contribute to improving the patient experience by replacing traditional paper-based drug labels with more user-friendly electronic labels (eLabels).

Despite digital technologies’ potential value, the biopharma industry thus far has been slow to digitize its end-to-end clinical development processes. One reason: Capitalizing on specific opportunities requires a level of digital maturity—an overall strategy, culture of collaboration and experimentation, and supportive leadership—which many biopharma companies have not yet attained.

Our research and client experience suggest that understanding current clinical supply chain inefficiencies, identifying an organization’s digital maturity level, and focusing on specific capability needs can aid in deciding which technologies should be implemented, and in what order, to move the process forward. If you’d like to learn more, contact:

Dan Silva
Senior Manager
Deloitte Consulting LLP
[email protected]

Hussain Mooraj
Deloitte Consulting LLP
[email protected]

This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team. The editorial team does not contribute.