Pharmalink Newsletter, Vol 11, Issue 1, November 2011. Effective Pharmaceutical Supply Chains - On the Road in Low Income Countries
(2011; 8 pages) [French]


From manufacturer to patient, that is the road medicines need to take all over the world. In some cases it’s a short distance. For most patients in developing countries, the road is very long. From manufacturer to central medical warehouse, to local supplier, to every small depot, health centre and dispensary, it’s a long road with many bumps and potholes.

In this edition of Pharmalink, some of the players in the field of medical supply chain explain problems and challenges to do with forecasting, selection and procurement, inventory management, storage, shelf life and distribution. Some problems are countryspecific, but many cut across almost all low-income countries. The various ways through which these challenges manifest at patient level, range from facilities being understocked or experiencing stock-outs which endanger patient’s lives and compromise adherence to treatment; to facilities being overstocked with subsequent expiries.

You will also discover how specific technologies can help overcome some of the problems in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Several ICT initiatives and innovations are helping stakeholders ensure a more adequate supply of health commodities. Mobile phones for data transfer and even mobile money services, electronic tools, specialized software and databases can help, provided that the underlying problems in the supply chain have been clearly identified. A few remarkable innovations in distribution are also changing the way the industry looks at delivery.

Finally, one of EPN’s member organizations explains its efforts to supply medicines to some of the most remote locations in Central African Republic.

In this issue:

  1. Harnessing technology to strengthen health commodity supply chains
  2. Constraints to effective supply chain of ARVs in Tanzania
  3. Innovations in pharmaceutical supply chains in sub-Saharan Africa
  4. Going the last mile – Delivering medicines to remote places
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