Easter bunny chase for a replacement container

It goes without saying that your pharmaceuticals journey needs to be planned with adequate risk assessments, qualified suppliers and ample forward planning. It also goes without saying that accidents happen – and how you respond to one can make or break a delivery.

A pharmaceutical shipment was travelling on a temperature-controlled container during Easter holidays when the airline on the receiving end discovered that the control panel wasn’t working. It couldn’t report the container temperature per our agreement.

As soon as we were alerted, we triggered contingency procedures right away, informing our customer to make a mutual decision about replacing the container immediately.

Adding to the complexity, the supplier changed their ground handler a few days ago and airline staff was not sure how to go about the container replacement procedure through the new handler. It appeared the airlines could not contact the supplier’s customer service centre over the holidays. The incident was escalated to our end immediately.

We contacted the supplier’s regional office and found a way to talk to the supplier’s new handler. This key intervention allowed the airline to replace the container with a backup one at the airline’s temperature controlled cold room.

We ran a post-game corrective action/preventive action (CAPA), noting that the supplier must examine and prove its container functions before deployment. We also requested the supplier to run drills in future ground handler changes. Our excellent working relationship with airlines and supplier management was and remains key to timely resolution of critical issues like this one.

After being transloaded into the backup container, the shipment made it to the destination on the original flight in good condition without any temperature deviation. Client was pleased with AOC Pharma’s proactive resolution to this unexpected incident.