BSMA Conference Report

October 17, 2017

Nancy Matti

Master of Engineering, Biopharmaceutical Processing 2018
Keck Graduate Institute
Claremont, CA

As a graduate student studying various process developments and manufacturing platforms, I never looked into what happens to my drug product afterwards. I naively assumed shipping the product to the pharmacies and hospitals around the world was the easiest step. The BSMA conference was beneficial in that it gave me a snapshot of what supply chain is, current problems plaguing the industry and stakeholders involved.

The keynote speakers and panelists that were chosen for the conference were phenomenal. It was a pleasure to hear from Kite Pharma, Roche, and Illumina about creating savvy strategies for supply chain for individualized therapies that are real-time and competitive. Moreover, it was enlightening to include a section on how the current administration’s tax and trade policies are affecting supply chain. The conference took a turn for me at this point and merged the supply chain world with our current reality. The interdisciplinary panelists provided a new twist to supply chain and the conference took into account the factors that are currently affecting supply chain in the US and particularly in California. Overall, it was a brilliant blend of the business, strategy, finance, manufacturing and technology.

The most interesting statistic I learned is the pharmaceutical industry loses $35 billion every year due to deviations during transport. Having an industry-wide shared perspective on product stability is pivotal in advancing the industry forward. In particular, Rich Kilmer’s talk on blockchain was insightful in showing how companies can use distributed ledger technologies to share information on the product, while also maintaining integrity. It is a disruptive technology that can now bring together the manufacturer, distributer, and pharmacy, in which each can validate the data independently so there is a distributed consensus among all major stakeholders. As a future manufacturer, I now know this is one method I can implement to assist in passing information along to aid in preventing product loss.

Attending this conference allowed me to understand the capacity of supply chain, and it gave me homework to research further. In addition, I networked with individuals from various companies that can assist in guiding my thought process as I apply supply chain to my master’s design project this year. Ensuring patients receive the life-saving medications they need on time without damaging the viability of the product is of the utmost importance. The BSMA conference provided a new piece to the puzzle of how to ultimately put the patient first. I would certainly consider attending more conferences hosted by the BSMA committee.


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