What does Reverse Logistics in the Pharmaceuticals Industry Signify?
Have you ever come across a time when you caught a seasonal cold or mild fever and you took the medicines kept at home? What would you have done if those medicines were expired? Maybe the usual, what everyone does when they get hold of expired medicines, throw it away in the bins or dispose of it in the drains.
What does this signify? The wastage of pharmaceuticals and inventory or a waste of money.
Well, there is a way to arrange reverse logistics in pharmaceuticals when one intends to throw or dispose of the drugs in a way that is less harmful to the environment and animals that might consume it through the waste.
This approach covers detailed aspects of reverse logistics on the issues that pharmaceutical organizations face. They go through this approach for properly processing pharmaceutical drug products in order to be removed from the marketplace and this procedure is known as Pharmaceutical Reverse Logistics.
Reverse logistics in pharmaceuticals as a trend
Reverse logistics in pharmaceuticals is a trend that is being adopted by many groups of people having environmental concerns. As for the people in the supply chain, they are to gain a competitive advantage and a source of potential revenue with reverse logistics.
The reverse logistics or the return of medicines includes the returns due to customer satisfaction, surplus return, and cleaning of expired medicines.
Moreover, as per Industry Week, about 3% of over-the-counter medications are not used before it expires and some studies have also found that up to 40% of Americans have expired medication in their household.
Also, the issue of sustainability approached by reverse logistics is profitable for pharmaceutical organizations with end-of-life products. Many pharmaceuticals are determined and bound to certain legal measures to keep the expired medicines off the store shelves. And, many retailers and pharmaceutical companies are organizing and notifying people to deliver the expired medicines back to them so that they can easily dispose of or incinerate the medicines safely without causing any harm to the environment or wildlife.
As per the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, about 3-4% of medical products leaving pharmaceutical warehouses comes back as a return for disposal or redistribution.
The concerns for medication disposal and environment issues are leading to the development of certain groups and community-based programs to take part and address to the safe disposal of expired medicines.
Not just this, pharmaceuticals that are sent back to the company keep the environment and streets clean. Nobody requires a harmful drug lying around the corner of a bin right? Also, there are many benefits of properly disposing of a pharmaceutical drug ie., when an expired drug is removed from the marketplace safely it reduces the chances of abusing the use of the drug by the recipient.
Moreover, it reduces the harm that it can cause with minimum diversion possible and according to a research study conducted by healthcare industry experts, over $5 billion worth of drugs in unopened packages are placed into the garbage annually.
This leaves out the returned products (expired drugs) from reaching the landfills and simultaneously helps in reducing potential contamination of land and water from unapproved disposal methods. This is a necessary action that needs to be taken and according to a study by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, each American generates around 4.4 pounds of trash each day, of which around 1.51 pounds are recycled, which makes it more of an important issue of awareness.
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