The challenges in managing the value chain in Spain

Spain consolidates itself as a European leader in the development of clinical trials to promote the arrival of new medicines.


The 24th AECOC Health Sector Congress is the reference meeting point for professionals and experts in management and supply chain matters in the sector.



What are the trends with the greatest impact and the main challenges in value chain management?

Answering this question has been the great objective of AECOC, the Association that brings together the industry and distribution of different business sectors, in its recently held 24th Health Sector Congress. 

The event has brought together dozens of professionals from health services and health centers, laboratories and suppliers, pharmacy wholesalers, logistics operators and technological partners.

At the inauguration, Vicente Fernández, president of the AECOC Health Committee, highlighted the importance of having standards to improve patient safety and promote a more modern, efficient and competitive health sector: “The GS1 standards, which AECOC develops and promotes in Spain, are the best guarantee to be able to operate successfully on a global stage and respond effectively to all the challenges posed by the new omnichannel environment and, most especially, the development of the so-called exponential technologies. I am referring to technologies such as IoT or Artificial Intelligence, among others, which lead us to a true paradigm shift.”

María Jesús Lamas, director of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products, indicated that “work is being done to make the European Union a leading and attractive agent for medicine research. In this context, Spain has a leading role, especially in therapeutic areas, where it is the second country in the world in clinical trials, only behind the United States.”

And she continued: “In fact, not participating in the development of medicines is a loss of opportunity for the entire sector, both for patients and health services, and for the industry, which does not capture the prominence that it could have on the continent. Another field of action that will mark the future of the sector has to do with resilience in the supply chain, an area that has a solidarity mechanism between States so that countries can contrast supply and demand between territories with the in order to ensure supply.”

This European coordination has also led them to detect critical medicines, that is, those with vulnerability problems in the supply chain. 

In this framework, “two weeks ago the critical medicines alliance was launched at the European level, an initiative aimed at attracting in the same discussion forum, for the first time, all authorized voices from the health sector and industry to highlight the need to ensure a resilient and efficient value chain in this type of medicines in Europe.”


Spain consolidates itself as a European leader in the development of clinical trials to promote the arrival of new medicines



The horizons of Artificial Intelligence

The day also featured several round tables in which impressions about the current context of the sector were shared.

Jon Hernández -Founder of Jon Fernández Education-, and Rafael Morales -Strategy & Business Transformation Office Lead-, starred in the debate ‘Exploring the horizons of Artificial Intelligence, focused on identifying the challenges and opportunities generated by new technologies, as well as such as the applications it can have in healthcare and supply chain optimization. 

“Computers (…) are replacing profiles that we thought were irreplaceable, such as psychologists. Specifically, the latest multimodal version of ChatGPT allows you to maintain a relationship with Artificial Intelligence with zero latency, that is, as if you were conversing with the same fluidity as with a person. This evolution has been transferred to the health sector in the development of AMIE, the first artificial intelligence model that is aimed at medical diagnosis through a conversational model that simulates what happens in a consultation. This improvement ensures more precise and accurate medical care, which will have a positive impact on patients and will increase the productivity of workers,” stated Jon Hernández. 

For his part, Rafael Morales referred to the impact that AI will have on the pharmaceutical industry.

“In the context of the most disruptive period in healthcare, this latest technological revolution will allow personalizing patient care, optimizing the design of clinical trials, streamlining diagnosis and treatment selection, improving the management of chronic diseases, and reducing costs – and improve the efficiency – of the health system.





Strategic planning and rational management

The 24th Health Sector Congress also dedicated a round table to identifying best practices in rational supply management from the point of view of strategic planning, the use of standards and best collaborative practices. 

To reduce the impact of variability in supply, “we must minimize this phenomenon through the use of communication channels, active listening to social networks or the detection of the information necessary to understand consumer demands. For its part, anything that cannot be anticipated deserves a quick and agile reaction, in order to establish communications with the supplier or manufacturer to resolve the incidents. Likewise, a poor demand forecast today will lead to supply inefficiency in the future,” the participants argued.

With the aim of addressing the challenges to achieve efficient, solid and competitive logistics in the health industry, another discussion table was held entitled ‘Global Logistics Challenges: Addressing Efficiency in National, International and Conflict Environments’. 

During the conversation, the speakers highlighted the conclusions drawn from the pandemic in terms of health logistics. “We have given more value to the supply chain, an aspect that seems to be taken for granted when things are going well, but which becomes the focus of attention in times of tension. At the same time, we have also seen that the relocation of products has its challenges, and that is why we must have reliable suppliers,” they concluded.



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