Mapping the Supply Chain for Essential Medicines


A federal agency was concerned about the risks associated with outsourcing their pharmaceuticals. They faced four problems:

  1. A large portion of their active pharmaceutical ingredients were being sourced from countries representing political or economic risk.
  2. Government standards for labeling the “country of origin” of their drugs were inconsistent and insufficient.
  3. Drug manufacturers regarded their sources of supply as trade secrets and were reluctant to reveal them.
  4. Mergers and acquisitions of generic drug manufacturers had gradually reduced competition, leading to rising prices and shortages.

To solve these problems, the agency needed visibility across their pharmaceutical supply chain. They engaged Exiger to build a prototype visibility and analytics platform to map the supply chain of several essential medicines.


We utilized SDX, our proven visibility and analytics platform for metals, plastics and electronic components, to develop core modifications. Adapting SDX to the pharmaceutical industry was a natural extension of our expertise.

First, we consulted subject matter experts in pharmaceuticals and risk analysis. We then identified the best curated sources of drug data and designed a method for automatically mapping this data in SDX. After analyzing 20 drugs on the FDA List of ‘Essential Medicines’, we were able to build a corpus of data for testing and proof of concept. The result was a functional prototype that could be scaled for use in a government or commercial environment.


Our drug mapping process resulted in detailed pharmaceutical ‘Bills of Materials.’ For each of the 20 essential medicines, we detailed attributes and potential sources of supply, mapping hierarchies of finished drugs with their constituent ingredients. Drug by drug, we uncovered numerous unique formulations of ingredients, technical characteristics and countries of origin. Our solution succeeded in automatically mapping – without human intervention – drug ingredients, active pharmaceutical ingredients, excipients and chemical precursors. These attributes were then loaded into SDX where users could view and manage the data, report on it as needed, and geographically visualize the different tiers of supply. Risk data for each supplier was loaded, enabling strategic decision making based on their impact on the value chain.

Following our successfully mapped supply chain, our prototype of a ‘Pharmaceutical Provenance Solution’ is now headed for deployment in government & commercial operational environments.

About Exiger & Supply Dynamics

Recently acquired by Exiger, Supply Dynamics provides Fortune 500 manufacturers with real-time visibility and control over the material requirements of their extended supply chain. Supply Dynamics’ product, SDX, is a highly secure, multi-tier supply chain collaboration platform, designed for complex, distributed manufacturing supply chains. To learn more, read about Exiger’s recent acquisition of Supply Dynamics to Create the First End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility and Supplier Risk Management Solution here and learn more about our products here.

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