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Ensuring access to medicines amidst a pandemic

How our supply-chain and logistics teams kept things moving

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

When the flights began to be grounded, our global supply chain team acted quickly and with persistence to find new solutions. For example, the launch of an important generic medicine in Europe ran into the danger to be significantly delayed, but despite all odds, our team didn’t let this happen. Working remotely from home, a colleague started to call around 50-80 new potential partner, googling literally everyone who could offer shipment. As new partnerships take some time to be established, the team connected closely to look at flights with existing partners. However, another hurdle was that some countries closed their airports – so did our import location in the EU, which was critical for this launch. To find alternatives, the supply chain team worked closely together with quality and logistics to find ways to address the situation - working late nights and through the weekend, in an attempt to approve a new import site and let them manage the importation and sampling. With an incredible support of our logistic teams, introducing new processes, under time pressure, and eventually finding a perfect logistic solution to air freight the product to Europe. The final option was then to find an alternative airport and ship the medicines via truck and ferry through two other countries to reach the final destination. The team at our final destination also performed a great job by expediting the transport and sampling wherever possible. It worked like a Swiss watch. The QC team managed to expedite the testing timeline with the external testing lab – having them come to the lab over the Easter break to ensure we completed the testing in time. Finally, the team had trucks waiting on each country’s respective border and the warehouses ready to sample the goods as soon as they arrived – providing access to an affordable medicine on day one of the patent expiry. This is just one example out of many and we want to thank all our colleagues around the world to keep things moving for patients worldwide.