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In many developed markets across the US and Europe, access to patients is straightforward and distribution of medicine and vaccines through hospitals and point-of-care centers often operates seamlessly. However, this is not always the same in Asia.
Most leading carriers have done a phenomenal job within a short time to address the immediate market demands of cold chain distribution. But beyond the major cities, many patients reside in rural areas with poor infrastructure making them hard to reach and this is where a key complexity of vaccine distribution lies.
As we examine the important factors of vaccine distribution in Asia, we must focus on the “last mile” delivery which will include not only the logistics and resources required but also the strict storage and temperature controls needed. This is where we believe DKSH’s latest storage innovation, the Brilliant box or simply known as B-box, is set to play a key role in this crucial “last mile” distribution solution.
As countries race and struggle to deliver mass inoculations in far-reaching corners of the globe, one of the hardest challenges is how to transport tiny vaccine vials thousands of kilometers away while keeping them stored at consistent cold temperatures to avoid causing the vaccine to lose its potency.
The B-box is a temperature-controlled cold chain box designed specifically for most cold chain product requirements. Backed by an experienced team in the healthcare industry, the development of the B-box revolves around an advanced packaging methodology derived from DKSH’s vast experience in the healthcare industry and familiarity with Asian markets.
A 100 percent returnable and reusable box, it is available in both 80-liter and 40-liter packaging options. It also uses an excellent insulating material that is easy to clean and is ultra-lightweight. Yet, it is robust and designed to be stackable for easy storage, safe transport and built to be more durable than the traditional Styrofoam boxes.
The tropical weather conditions of Asia along with the vaccines’ strict storage and logistics requirements means that there is a crucial need for expansive tracking of the items across the cold chain process.
A stand-out feature of the B-box is its specifically designed label indicating the storage condition of the product throughout the whole journey along with the expiration date and time of the cool or frozen gel used, which sets us apart from the other similar solutions available in the market.
The unique code on its label enables tracking the exact delivery location of the package across the entire distribution process. The B-box is now being used to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines to the population in Thailand.
A vaccine’s journey through the supply chain is known to be a complex and meticulous process as most vaccines are sensitive to heat or light. Therefore, they must be transported and stored under correct conditions, despite various local conditions, to maintain their quality and potency. This requires robust, reliable and innovative cold chain equipment.
With this prerequisite, the B-box is intentionally designed to use the innovative insulating material which will lose temperature less or slower than the normal Styrofoam box, while maintaining the quality of the products delivered.
The annual testing and validation of the boxes by our quality assurance professionals is a tightly controlled process taking different weather conditions and operating scenarios into account. We also carry out testing of the boxes over all the routes covered throughout the markets we operate in. This is vital as we need to know the different logistics challenges presented by different routes.
Globally, an unintended consequence of COVID-19 safety procedures has been a surge in trash from safety equipment. These include face masks, gloves and as well as discarded syringes and needles used to deliver vaccines to patients.
As DKSH strives to be a better partner to the environment and the communities around us, the development of the B-box is another testament to our ongoing aspiration to design products that meet our sustainability-driven initiatives while ensuring utmost efficiency in delivering temperature-controlled products to even the rural communities. The main benefits of this storage solution include cost-efficiency, less carbon emission, lighter, robust and durable, easier to store, recyclable, traceable, easier to clean and most definitely its temperature-controlled function.
Increasing access to healthcare by reaching the unserved population in Asia is key to achieving reliable and efficient access to COVID-19 vaccines for everyone in Asia. As proven in the past when DKSH successfully distributed over 10 million doses of Influenza vaccine throughout Thailand, it has the capability and capacity to manage the cold chain distribution requirements of time and temperature-sensitive vaccine to markets across Asia.
Drop us a note if you are looking at how best to deliver high-quality medicine or vaccines to your customers and patients across Asia.