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TNT Express targets temperature-controlled pharma market

Amsterdam, Netherlands:  TNT Express has launched a temperature-controlled service to transport large quantities of pharmaceutical products, such as vaccines and insulin.

The service, called PharmaSafe, is designed to tackle the main challenge facing pharmaceutical supply chains: the lack of control and visibility inherent in the involvement of too many parties, typically more than 20 for an air shipment.

The majority of errors occur when shipments change hands.  Risks include damages to packaging, customs clearance delays, and most importantly temperature deviations, which can incur major costs for pharma companies and affect product efficacy, says TNT.

According to the World Health Organization, every fourth vaccine reaches its destination in a degraded state because of incorrect shipping.

“PharmaSafe will simplify and secure the international movements of high-value, often life-saving, pharmaceutical products requiring strict temperature control, TNT says.

With this new service, TNT Express acts as one partner.  TNT controls the full supply chain, from packaging procurement to delivery.  It uses its own aircraft, handling stations, collection and delivery networks, as well as in-house customs clearance experts.  PharmaSafe also comes with one of the best passive containers currently available, the va-Q-tainer, the company says.

“The va-Q-tainer is a high performance, cost-efficient and re-usable passive container.  Its reliability is such that insurance companies have, in some instances, cut premiums by 50% for pharmaceutical companies that use it.  Va-Q-tainers are capable of maintaining the required inside temperature (frozen, refrigerated or controlled room temperature) for more than 120 hours without electrical power supply or dry ice, even in extreme outside temperatures.  TNT offers rental of pre-conditioned, ready to “load and go” va-Q-tainers,” it says.

“PharmaSafe offers real time tracking of location and temperature from end to end.  Sensors measure the temperature of the shipment not only inside, but also outside the va-Q-tainer throughout the transport.  Temperatures are even measured during flights.  The information is transmitted in real time to TNT’s 24/7 PharmaSafe Management Centre by a GSM transponder that can be used on TNT’s aircraft.

“TNT Express can thus detect, predict and correct any temperature excursion without customers having to take action themselves.  TNT Express sends customers a detailed shipment and temperature report immediately after delivery,” the company says.

TNT Express offers PharmaSafe on the routes the company operates using its own fleet.  The service is available between Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States, as well as within Europe.

“PharmaSafe is the market leading solution for preserving the efficacy, value and brand of temperature sensitive pharmaceutical products during transport.  We are pleased to offer this new service to our growing number of pharmaceutical customers,” says Roland Schuetze, TNT Express director global industry healthcare.

“Our customers’ temperature sensitive shipments never change hands.  TNT acts as one partner, using its own networks and operations from end-to-end.  PharmaSafe comes with cutting edge packaging and real time temperature and location tracking to further secure the transport of temperature-controlled pharmaceutical products,” says Gert de Gier, TNT Express global manager industry solutions healthcare.

TNT Express will present PharmaSafe tomorrow at the “Cool Chain Logistics Europe 2012” event in Basel, Switzerland.  Other presentations will follow in Beijing on 28 February at the 2nd Annual Biopharmaceutical Cold Chain 2012, and in

Demand for temperature-controlled air transport of pharmaceutical products is expected to grow by 12 % annually over the next five years, fuelled by stricter regulations on risk control and increasing global demand for medicine.