Biopharma, life science and supply chain firms need to be prepared for dealing with natural disasters, Chapel Hill-based Best Practices LLC says in a new report.

“Now, in the wake of major devastating events (such as the earthquake, tsunami, and partial nuclear meltdown in Japan last year), leading healthcare organizations have moved quickly to ensure their global supply chains and manufacturing operations are capable of sustaining sudden – and potentially ruinous – disruptions and disasters,” the report says.

Report highlights include:

  • Emergency Response Training Is Essential For Fast Response – But Training Occurs Sporadically at Most Companies: More than 60% of companies conduct emergency response training once or twice a year – or not at all. Training frequency goes hand and hand with response effective-ness. This seems an Achilles’ heel for many companies. Less than 1/3 of companies train monthly or quarterly.
  • During Major Events: Communicate Early & Often: Active communication is a critical tool for managing through crisis. Daily briefings are advocated by 86% of the benchmark class and sharing of lessons learned is used by 71% of companies.
  • The Supply Chain Can Be Disrupted in Many (Unexpected) Ways: Natural disasters are not the only threat to a company’s supply of medical products to the market and its customers. Disruptions range widely from parts to material purity to manufacturing. Small disruptions can disrupt or shut down supply chains.

Companies profiled in the report include: Amgen; Alameda County Medical Center; Insight Adhesives Research; Siemens Medical; Nypro; GlaxoSmithKline; Abbott; UCB Pharma; Genzyme; Shire; Fibrogen; Terumo Corporation; Sanofi; Merck; Ipsen; Amylin; Lilly; Boehringer Ingelheim; Boston Scientific; Bayer Healthcare; Johnson & Johnson; Genentech; EMD Serono; Ben Venue Laboratories; Janssen; Smith & Nephew; Grifols; MedImmune