This paper examines the opportunities and challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry in moving to a primarily “continuous processing”‐based supply chain. The current predominantly “large batch” and centralized manufacturing system designed for the “blockbuster” drug has driven a slow‐paced, inventory heavy operating model that is increasingly regarded as inflexible and unsustainable. Indeed, new markets and the rapidly evolving technology landscape will drive more product variety, shorter product life‐cycles, and smaller drug volumes, which will exacerbate an already unsustainable economic model. Future supply chains will be required to enhance affordability and availability for patients and healthcare providers alike despite the increased product complexity. In this more challenging supply scenario, we examine the potential for a more pull driven, near real‐time demand‐based supply chain, utilizing continuous processing where appropriate as a key element of a more “flow‐through” operating model.
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Original Publication Date: 01/28/2015