Reverse Logistics in Pharmaceutical Industry: Handling Products Back to the Manufacturer


The article titled Reverse Logistics in Pharmaceutical Industry investigates transportation mechanisms in the suggested domain and examines its problems. The paper primarily focuses on reverse logistics as a process of handling products back to the manufacturer. This kind of logistics implies that the products move from the buyer back to the manufacturer for several reasons. Such a situation occurs when the product is recalled or damaged, or due to the warranty failure. Therefore, the primary goal is to maximize the value of goods by minimizing processing costs.

Main body

Reverse logistics has become a severe problem due to market competition, economic motives, and similar issues. It plays an enormous part in the pharmaceutical industry as poor-quality goods must be delivered safely back to the final disposition point. Multiple studies show that new guidelines for optimizing and managing reverse logistics have emerged in the last decade. In addition, new recovery systems have been created to recycle and recover goods and return them to the supply chain.

The pharmaceutical industry produces products using precise combinations that are strictly regulated by quality control. Therefore, as soon as medicines are manufactured, they are delivered to the customer. However, if they are destroyed during transportation, they cannot be recalled or repaired. Typically, when the goods are given back to the distributor, they ensure the client gets a return credit. Then, the medicines are sent to a processor for destruction. Nevertheless, not each return is credited as they demand additional verification from a logistics company.

A product recall is quite similar to a return, yet requires extra identification, specific protocols, and urgency. The procedure presupposes a more thorough oversight to prove the legality of actions. To avoid legitimate inconsistencies, logistics companies offer solutions in the form of Recall Action and Recall Alliance that help the customer meet their requirement. Despite some differences in these procedures, all regulations have to be managed.

Multiple pharmaceutical products traveling on their way back to the distributor must be regulated even from overseas. There are more than 70 rules for pharmaceutical logistics. They include serialization, attaching different codes, or other distinguishing devices. Moreover, inventory security measures should be taken to avoid any accidents. Besides, reverse logistics often face a problem of controlling the temperature of pharmaceuticals. Therefore, they developed miscellaneous technologies such as sensor-based systems to prevent drug expiration during shipping and storage. Therefore, when regulations are violated, the companies may bear significant losses, reducing prices due to intense market competition.

The logistic organizations, working within the pharmaceutical industry, support clinical trials. As a result, they do not deliver drugs in large amounts to the market but ship them to laboratories and patients’ homes. Thus, some locations have become increasingly important for logistics companies. The drive to contain costs forces pharmaceutical retailors to mingle their clinical and commercial logistics operations under a universal contract. Such an approach helps organizations work more efficiently as returning and recalling items should be tracked thoroughly as well.


The development of the pharmaceutical market implies that more expensive but effective drugs will be developed. Reverse logistics works differently in this industry, as no drugs can be returned. Therefore, the regulations must be strictly followed. The primary firm’s objective is to ensure that shipping and storing conditions are controlled to maximize their profit and minimize losses. Only a complex approach to delivering would help distributors achieve these goals.


Malik Iqbal Kabir Reverse Logistics in Pharmaceutical Industry. Int. J Sup. Chain. Mgt. Vol. 2, No. 1, 2013.

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