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Penske Helping Improve European Cold Chain Drug Distribution Safety

APenske Logistics Europe associate is among a top group of industry experts that collaboratively helped draft new pharmaceutical supply chain management guidelines designed to strengthen cold chain safety practices in Europe.


Olav Berkelmans, a Penske operations manager based in Roosendaal, The Netherlands, had a hand in drafting the European Guideline on Risk Management for Temperature-Controlled Distribution. He is one of nearly two dozen supply chain and pharma professionals asked to contribute by the taskforce leader, an executive with a global drug maker.

The new recommendations highlight ways to minimize risks that can occur during the transport of cold chain pharmaceuticals, specifically products that cannot be exposed to temperatures outside the range of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. The Parenteral Drug Association will formally issue these guidelines by year’s end.

Every company transporting and handling medications that are used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments in Europe will be provided with these guidelines. In the past, PDA documents have served as a starting point for government legislation.

“Pharmaceuticals are high-value products,” Berkelmans explained. “Every medicine represents years of research and testing, and there is actual risk of life-threatening complications when something goes wrong during distribution. That’s why in this type of business, the rules and regulations are much more stringent.”

The new guidelines were created to preserve the safety and quality of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

“This was my first experience in being a co-author for a European guideline,” Berkelmans stated. “It was a great experience to work with people from all different parts of the supply chain, and to learn from each other.”

Penske Logistics counts several world-renowned drug makers among its European customers, and designs freight management solutions that oversee daily shipments from the production plant to the consumer point-of-purchase. The logistics footprint entails plants and packaging operations in a half-dozen countries.

Please click here to view a case study of Penske’s logistics and supply chain work with a leading global drug manufacturer.

By Alen Beljin