In health and medical product industry, the “last mile cold chain” problem is a serious one, as we are dealing with human lives. Certain medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, human cultures and organs need to be transported in strictly controlled and “predictable” temperatures, so as efficacy is maintained.
Today, the “last mile cold chain” is inefficient, unregulated and uncontrolled, largely addressed by rudimentary boxes, kept cold through ice-packs. More than half the time, the medicines and samples become ineffective, as the optimum temperature “prescribed” by manufacturer is NOT maintained. This leads to drugs being administered that have lost the potency, leading to disease outbreaks and in some cases, serious complications and even death. If the care providers come to know of medicines/ vaccines/ drugs/ samples being ineffective (due to lab testing or their own experience based on visual cues or using aids such as VVMs – vaccine vial monitors), they are discarded, resulting in cost overheads, care delays and operational inefficiencies.
Transit pilferage or contamination is another challenge in many countries that is part of “last mile” medical transportation, resulting in spurious drugs and vaccines.