BDP International builds global pharma expertise, with IATA LIVE virtual in-house training

Blue chemicals in test tubes
BDP International

BDP International

At a glance
To meet its CEIV Pharma certification goal, BDP International needed to level up understanding and know-how to comply with requirements.

The Challenge
Ensure fast, coordinated acquisition of regulatory knowledge across the organization.

Since BDP International diversified its service offering into life sciences and healthcare in 2016, we’ve rapidly expanded our customer portfolio in the segment. We’ve invested in resources and expertise to support this new strategy and, today, about 35% of our overall business is with pharma. I, Simona, was hired at that time, bringing with me almost 20 years of experience in healthcare logistics, and my role has been to develop the life science business in Europe.

We know healthcare will remain one of the most important industries, as we can see with COVID, but it’s changing fast and quality requirements keep going up. Ensuring product quality is a significant challenge for the industry, and shippers need to be assured that their product integrity and customer service expectations are met. So in 2019, we decided to further invest and obtain a certification. It had to encompass European Union Good Distribution Practices (GDP), World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) standards.

As global pharmaceutical supply chains are heavily dependent on air freight, it also needed to cover the IATA Temperature Control Regulations, so the IATA CEIV Pharma certification was an obvious choice.

The uncertainty of the pandemic put our plans on hold for a while, but we eventually decided to go ahead because the certification was important to us for two reasons. We wanted to reassure our customers that we had them covered in a constantly changing, logistically difficult situation. And we wanted to be at the forefront of promoting reliable healthcare transport, as members of pharmaceutical industry logistics collectives, such as Pharmacom Italia and Pharma.Aero.

Half the effort required for certification is in training, and we needed to train 20 people from multiple areas of the business, at the same time, so everyone understands the entire chain of responsibility and their part in it. These people had varying levels of experience: from beginners to decades in the industry. And they were located in three different cities in three different countries, which we had chosen for the significance of their role in pharma transportation: Milan, Brussels and New York.

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This article originally appeared on IATA.org.