Building More Resilient API Supply Chains

Author: Jim Carr, Operations Lead API & Intermediates

Sep 2021

Safe, secure and reliable supply lines for key medicines is one of pharma's top priorities. However, as recent reports about shortages of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) impacting on the supply of key medicines show, there are lessons to be learned to ensure optimum supply chain security.

As we have discussed in previous blogs, de-risking the supply chain is crucial to mitigate the impact from both foreseeable and unforeseeable events.

From a risk management standpoint, it is important to pursue a dualistic, longer term supply strategy that embraces cost control and supply reliability/diversity to improve the integrity and resilience of international supply chains.

So, where should companies begin to develop a more resilient API supply chain? Here are some more key tips to help de-risk.

1. Assign suppliers a risk profile

Diversifying the geography of API suppliers is an important first step. Defining a risk profile for source countries and suppliers as if it were a part of the technology transfer process may help in developing the strength and resilience of pharma supply lines.

A thorough risk profile might also include an API supplier’s compliance track record, number of successful batches, environmental stewardship and financial metrics. Employing a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis might support developing a more insightful risk profile of potential and existing API suppliers. To maintain its global reputation for reliability and quality each of the companies in the vast supply chain that serves Pfizer, and its contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Pfizer CentreOne, are evaluated carefully for risk and their business continuity track record.

2. Strong partners, more resilient supply

The causes of API supply issues may run deeper than just ingredient shortages and stem from broader operational issues at certain suppliers that cannot be ignored.

It is important to consider the source of issues with problem suppliers, and explore alternative partners, focusing on those that have a strong track record of reliability and supply sustainability.

3. Stable sources make for stable supply

Unforeseen political or natural events with the potential to disrupt supply chains can happen anywhere in the world. However, some economies and political systems are more stable than others and can handle adverse events more effectively. Pfizer CentreOne for example, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, offers drug developers a lower risk profile geographically and operationally.

Pfizer CentreOne has been reliably synthesizing and supplying commercial volumes of APIs to leading pharma companies for decades.

Time to de-risk API supply

Today's API supply chain must be managed more closely for risk and reliability to ensure a secure and consistent supply and steady production.

Working with trusted partners like Pfizer CentreOne can safeguard your operations from potential disruption, giving you confidence that you can continue to deliver high-quality medication to patients, when and where they need it.

To find out more about how Pfizer CentreOne can support you in securing a safer API and intermediate supply chain, contact us today.