THE Patient’s perspective
Finland based life science company Likelle offers a patient’s perspective to cold chain management in pharmaceuticals
There is an increasing number of new biological medicines being introduced on the market. Biological medicines are temperature sensitive and must be stored properly to prevent spoilage. The cold chain of modern protein-based pharmaceuticals is monitored and documented from the manufacturing site to pharmacies; beyond that, cold chain management is itself poorly managed and, in the patient perimeter, an essential part – the ‘last mile’ – and can often be forgotten.
The overall trend in the rise of good distribution practices requires new and innovative tools into the patient perimeter. Millions have been invested to secure the cold chain before the patient is forgotten.
The benefits of an end-to-end-managed cold chain in pharmaceuticals are obvious: patient and medication safety improves, as does adherence; there is less medical waste; each stakeholder saves money; and overall end user satisfaction improves.
Find by medical doctor and confirmed with patient surveys
Dr Antti Puolitaival, a specialist of rheumathoid diseases, realised that expensive medication is often wasted because there is no evidence regarding the storage conditions of medication available in the patient perimeter. He mentioned this observation to his brother, Harri Puolitaival, who has a background in electrical industry.
The brothers searched the available designs and realised that several shortages existed. One pharmaceutical brand delivered a cooling case, which freezes medications at -8°C, and one which was expected to be stored at fridge temperature (between 2°C and 8°C) according to their own guidelines. They began to develop optimised and easy-to-use solutions for end customers, and the Likelle product family was born.
IoT Instruments Oy, a Finnish life science company, conducted surveys among diabetic people in Finland and asked what they thought of the importance of the cold chain to insulin. 63% responded by saying that travelling with insulin was “very challenging” during the summer and winter months.
They were also asked about the features of traditional bags and cases delivered by pharmaceutical companies for patients, with two major issues being found. First, traditional bags have no means of maintaining temperature, let alone the means to check storage temperatures.
Secondly, the traditional bags were also considered “too hospital-like”. The patient, then, should be considered as a consumer, meaning that a solution should be easily available, integrated into existing systems, and distributed via well-known channels. From this point of view, a mobile device app is easy to access and adapt for consumers. Other aspects include the product’s appropriate certificate, taking environmental and sustainable values into account, as well as cost-efficiency.