Pharmaniaga geared up for nationwide vaccine distribution

PHARMANIAGA Bhd has set up a task force to facilitate nationwide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine which is expected to be made available by end of the first quarter of next year.

This is in line with the recent announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the Government has signed an agreement to purchase Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to cover 6.4 million Malaysians.

Pharmaniaga group managing director Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope said Pharmaniaga’s core competency lies in its pharmaceutical grade logistic services and internationally recognised halal drug manufacturing facility.

In this regard, the company will give utmost priority to the compliance of the temperature requirement of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine to ensure its continued quality, safety and efficacy.

The company’s wholly owned subsidiary Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd has 26 solid years of vaccine logistics and distribution experience covering both for -20⁰C and 2⁰C to 8⁰C constant temperature requirements.

“Vaccine transportation is not like any other drug as any temperature breach out of the allowed range will impact its efficacy,” Zulkarnain pointed out.

“In order to manage this especially with the delivery challenge to remote locations in Sabah and Sarawak, Pharmaniaga has perfected the transportation medium and the process complies with the good distribution practice (GDP) requirements.

“Each of the box will be sealed together with a temperature monitoring device which allows the customer to verify the temperature compliance.”

On top of that, the delivery vehicles are equipped with internet of things devices which allows Pharmanuaga to monitor the movement of vehicle, arrival time as well as the temperature.

“We note that Pfizer’s vaccine requires ultra-cold temperature of -70⁰C, thus the frozen pre-filled syringes will be delivered in thermal shippers which are filled with dry ice to maintain ultra-cold temperature,” noted Zulkarnain.

Commenting further, he cited there are other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers such as Moderna Inc that requires -20⁰C temperature compliance.

“Majority of other vaccine manufacturers have announced standard temperature requirement of 2⁰C to 8⁰C,” he explained.

“This brings about the need for the high volume of vaccines to be managed in compliance to GDP requirements and the specifications set by the vaccine manufacturers.”

According to Zulkarnain, Pharmaniaga’s current warehouses in Bukit Raja Shah Alam, Juru, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching have cold chain facilities with environmental monitoring system and back-up power to ensure the vaccines are safe for use.

In addition, all these warehouses have been licensed to handle cold chain products by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and the facilities are continuously being enhanced.

“We note the possibility that hospitals’ stores will have a major constrain if a big volume of COVID-19 vaccine arrives beyond their storage capacity,” he projected.

“On this aspect, Pharmaniaga is looking at just-in-time based delivery system to ensure smooth and orderly vaccination and stock replenishment.”

At today’s close, Pharmaniaga was down 6 sen or 1.08% with 1.43 million shares traded, thus valuing the company at RM1.44 bil. – Nov 30, 2020.

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