When people think of the Grand Caymans, they think of gorgeous beaches, coral reefs and year-round temperatures above 26°C. While those tropical temperatures are great for beachgoers, they're a challenge for transporting medications, like Humira.
Humira is an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat conditions ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to Crohn's disease, and requires strict temperature control between 2°C to 8°C for the medicine to be effective.
Demand for Humira in Latin America has increased steadily over recent years, and precise logistics are essential to move the sensitive medicine in tropical climates. Humira's manufacturer turned to American Airlines Cargo and DHL LifeConEx to design an effective solution.
A central component of this plan was Miami International Airport, which has seen pharmaceutical traffic increase by 104% over the past five years, most of which is transiting to the Caribbean and Latin America.
"Our connectivity with the region is unparalleled with any other airport," said Jimmy Nares, Miami-Dade Aviation's marketing chief. "In fact, 82% of all pharma exports are going into the Caribbean and Latin America."
With more than 350 daily flights, American is the largest carrier serving Miami, and the cargo terminal is the largest in the American network.
Most importantly, American has plenty of space to protect sensitive medications with its cargo ExpediteTC service. An on-site, 2,200-square-foot temperature-controlled (TC) facility provides a space for pharmaceuticals and healthcare products to remain stable before being loaded onto a flight to one of the 43 countries American services from Miami.
In addition to its massive terminal in Miami, American offers an even greater level of service through Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In 2016, American unveiled a pair of dedicated TC spaces in San Juan. It opened a 600-square foot TC facility (serving between 15°C to 25°C) and a 400-square foot cool goods facility (serving between 2°C to 8°C) to accommodate the vibrant pharmaceutical manufacturing hub.
With daily widebody flights from San Juan to Miami and Philadelphia – the home of the airline's 25,000-square foot TC facility – American is providing specialty forwarders with a direct line in moving pharmaceuticals to and from the Caribbean and Latin America.
"We're seeing a lot of focus on pharmaceuticals in the Caribbean and Latin American regions," said Russell Santiago, Senior Sales Manager, American Airlines Cargo. "We always tell our customers about our cooler space and what we can offer from a facility standpoint, but we've found what resonates the most with them is their comfort level with our customer service and knowledge of the process from start to finish."
Network and facilities aside, American is focused on strong partnerships to successfully protect the efficacy of sensitive medications during transport. In a recent white paper titled "The Path to Personalized Medicine in Latin America," American worked with DHL Global Forwarding to spotlight the need for pharmaceutical logistics professionals to pave the way for a personalized medicine future in the region.
The American network into Latin America is critical to bringing medicine to the region. Shipping sensitive pharmaceuticals is complex, but with the right cargo infrastructure in place, there’s no limit to finding customized solutions.
For more information on personalized medicine initiatives in Latin America, download the report at personalizedlogistics.health.