The pharmaceutical supply chain of today is complex. If not properly monitored, pharmaceutical warehousing could be its most dangerous and difficult location. To mitigate safety risks, your management system will require extensive security protocols.
You will be confronted with theft, contamination, fraud, and the management of the drug’s end-of-life, where there are several new statutes. This guide will discuss the four main concerns when managing goods that are made of ingredients that travel the world to be combined into the most profitable products in small, easily moveable form factors.
1. Internal and external theft
Because your products are moving, there is less chance of theft or other threats. The threat of theft increases when thieves arrive at your warehouse, then move to storage. They know more about your target and have fewer variables, which makes it easier for them to steal your pharmaceuticals on a large scale.
If you store your pharmaceuticals warehouse for long periods, they may be easy targets. A pallet of drugs could be a target for thieves. They may also have easy access to a handcart or forklift that could assist them in committing a major theft.
The WMS security system must be able to detect motion and call up work schedules to allow your security personnel to verify activity at the location.
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A group of thieves stole $80 million from an Eli Lilly pharmacy warehouse in March 2010. This theft was traced back to an insider who allegedly gave them security blueprints. They were able to bypass security measures and also used onsite equipment for faster collection and removal.
2. Environmental controls
You will need enough space to store the pharmaceuticals you plan to stock. These products can be sensitive to temperature, humidity, and shock. Make sure that you have posted all drug requirements and storage areas.
This means that you need to maintain a temperature in your cooler and post it. Also, make sure your WMS security is checked so that no one can enter a cooler to store or eat their food. The food is at risk of contamination and can attract pests, which can increase the risk of contamination.
Your overall hygiene team should include pharmaceutical WMS security. This will ensure that drugs are stored properly, that different temperatures are separated and that your space is clean to prevent vermin.
3. Products that are mislabeled
WMS security must be extended to your vendors. Proper tracking must also be done from the lab that created the pharmaceuticals to your warehouse’s doors. Salting can occur when counterfeit drugs are added to legitimate products. Wholesalers who buy products from more than one supplier could be at greater risk.
Salting can give a fake drug a label and put your company at risk.
Salting often uses packaging that matches the manufacturers. However, it isn’t always in demand. Batch numbers and other numbers may not match records from the original manufacturer. Some advanced printing operations may mirror serial and batch numbers.
This risk can be mitigated by proper tracking via your WMS security portal. This can help you ensure that your manufacturers are working with wholesalers who specialize in pharmaceuticals.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information warns small secondary wholesalers that they are not only the weakest link in the current supply chain but that they could be violating multiple licensing and distribution laws willfully or unknowingly. This can pose a risk to your operations.
4. Proper disposal
Drugs can expire or become damaged in a pharmaceutical warehouse. Accidents and products failing to sell are part of the warehousing system. Disposal is a major WMS security concern for pharmaceuticals, as you must comply with local, state, and/or federal regulations.
You need to be aware of the various disposal and dumping requirements. However, your WMS security platform and the team should continue monitoring these drugs throughout the process. If the drug has a high street value, theft can still occur.
You and your team must ensure that expired drugs are visible. This could pose a risk to your company and cause patient harm.
These issues are not usually considered part of WMS security. However, the potential litigation and major threats that a pharmacy warehouse could face making them a top priority for safety teams.