We’ve discussed why the vast majority of pharma companies will have to build supply chains with new manufacturing, distribution and service-management techniques, and some of the developments that can help them. But what route should they take? from the PwC White Paper “Pharma 2020: Supplying the future: Which path will you take?” Considering the concern relating to what some would refer to as the growing drug shortage, in which crucial treatments for diseases such as cancer are being negatively impacted (read my October 7th post “Whether created artificially or reflective of a very real and serious issue, pharmaceutical supply chain problems can have deadly consequences for patients“), the timing of the PwC paper (or for that matter any such paper of this nature) could not be better. Putting aside the possible origins relating to the shortages, there is little doubt that the pharmaceutical industry’s supply chains are experiencing a transformation of considerable magnitude. As we continue our series examining this seminal shift, starting today, and over the remainder of the week, I will review the four options highlighted in the PwC paper for “restructuring the pharmaceutical supply chain” which are; the virtual manufacturer, the service innovator, the low-cost provider and the profit center. What is most interesting is not so much the options themselves but the fact that they are divided into two distinct categories. Specifically, the virtual manufacturer and service innovator are the strategies PwC recommends for pharmaceutical companies that focus on specialist therapies including the treatment for orphan drugs, while those focused on what the report calls mass market medicines are advised to consider the low-cost provider and profit centre options. The interesting part of course is how these suggested strategies would be able to address the drug shortage question. For example, deficiencies with Ohio-based contract manufacturer Ben Venue Laboratories Inc. were cited in a recent Globe & Mail article as being responsible for shortages involving a number of cancer drugs including Caelyx, which is used to treat ovarian cancer.