February 08, 2018

With the introduction of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), all players within the pharmaceutical industry are confronting the challenge of implementing a serialized drug tracing system with little guidance on data standards, roles, or accountability.

An SCM thesis research project titled Serialization of Prescription Drugs in the US: A Centralized View completed by the authors and supervised by Dr. Bruce Arntzen, Executive Director, Supply Chain Management Program, MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, explores the challenges of serializationThe research sponsor companies, both players in the pharmaceutical industry, wanted to objectively determine the best way to achieve system-wide serialization. The best method would balance the costs of serialization against the importance of maintaining system reliability, resiliency and scalability.

To understand the full extent of possible implementation options, we identified two key decision variables; the Data Management Model (Centralized vs Decentralized), the Relational Model (Individual Unit-Level vs Nested Parent-Child). A combination of each of these variables was then used to determine the optimal serialization scenario.

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