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Shipping in the medical sector

Its annual value exceeds $300 billion

Vaccine and drug delivery services are expected to rise to $ 10.2 billion by 2018. This is based on a marginal market from which there was little hope in the mid-1990s. New technologies in patient and medical equipment transport provide better service at lower price and higher quality. This has led to a significant growth in the above-mentioned market, which had a major impact both on the medical sector and patient service, in addition to the economic sector as well as increasing the employment rate of other related sectors. Companies, innovations and developed services around the world have been active, so how did the medical sector benefit from this revolution and how did it affect the economy?

With the expansion of international relations and human communication around the world, new sectors have emerged and others have expanded, including those related to medicine, health and pharmaceutical industries. This expansion led to the activation of the trade movement and shipping by land, sea and air. But due to medical conditions’ requirements and the importance of time in rescuing patients, the air cargo industry has experienced great progress and achieved impressive results.

Transportation, Shipping and Ambulance

Historically, medical air transport dates back to World War I, but its role was greatly expanded during internal Korean conflicts and the Vietnam War; helicopters were used to transport patients to hospitals and later developed into medical conditions, traffic accidents and disasters. While wing aircraft are used for long-distance transportation.

Medical air transport moves patients in critical condition to and from health facilities over long distances, when time is of the essence. It is a good option for travelers, or for people who live in remote or hard-to-access areas. It can also be an excellent idea for patients who may need to reach specialized medical facilities quickly in case of emergency. When choosing between medical air transport companies, there are important differences to consider first. For instance, only some companies accept people with pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, while certain companies mandate “medical necessity” before rendering services, others do not. Most medical air transport providers require that healthcare professionals travel with patients, but their level of training varies. Some use professionals with special instruction for air ambulances, others simply use staff with standard training, and others require EMT or paramedic preparation.

Remember to always compare quotes from different companies before making a final decision. If the patient has insurance coverage, learn the facts about what air medical transport costs are included and under what specific circumstances.

Are there regional restrictions? Is there financial limit to coverage? If abroad, will the company be able to provide medical transportation back to the member’s home country? How long is the initial waiting period?

The more comprehensive memberships offer worldwide coverage (with some restrictions), handle all of the transportation arrangements for you, and will bring you to the hospital of your choice in your home country, regardless of the severity of your medical condition or how much it costs. While more limited memberships have regional restrictions, may fly you to the hospital of their choice, or have a limit to how much they’ll cover, or limit the circumstances eligible for transport.

Due to its nature, medical cargo needs to be transported quickly and efficiently to where it is most needed, and air transportation certainly offers that advantage. However, according to the Seabury Group, just 0.5 million tons of pharmaceutical products are transported by air every year, compared to 3.5 million tons by sea. The air cargo share of global pharma products transport has declined from 17% in 2000 to 11% in 2013, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) notes.

Expanding requirements

To tackle these challenges, in March last year Brussels Airport and Miami Airport announced the launch of a new organization, Pharma.Aero. The ultimate aim is to create a safe, standardized pathway for the transport of pharma products by air. Due to its nature, medical cargo needs to be transported quickly and efficiently to where it is most needed, and air transportation certainly offers that advantage.  Annual product losses associated with these problems range from $2.5-$12.5bn, a figure that IATA describes as “unacceptably high in a $300 billion a year market.” At Brussels Airport for example, the supply chain is composed of four elements: the company that forwards the goods to the airport; the forwarding agent that organizes the global air transport on behalf of the shippers; the airline flying the cargo; and the handling agent that works on behalf of the airline and ensures the actual transport.

In 2014, Brussels Airport partnered with IATA to create the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) in pharmaceutical logistics, a global quality standard based on the good distribution guidelines. Today, CEIV is the most widely recognized certification in the world.

In October, the association brought in new members, including Singapore’s Changi Airport, Sharjah Airport in the United Arab Emirates, as well as Brussels Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Brink’s Life Sciences. Changi and Sharjah are the first two airports to join as strategic members in Asia and the Middle East, respectively.  Air Ambulance International provides patient transportation on Commercial and Charter flights worldwide. In service since 1996 – patient can be transported by Air from UAE – Dubai or Abu Dhabi to destinations like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Middle east countries like Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Bahrain and other GCC countries. We have regular planned and emergency transportation from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Germany, United Kingdom and the United States.

The aircrafts are fully equipped with stretcher, oxygen and lifesaving medical equipment including cardiac monitors, pulse oximeters, ventilators, suction machine, BIPAP, blood glucose monitoring devices and have a medical escort team for doctor, nurses and paramedics to accompany the patient.

Air transport services offer a wide range of medical assistance that is fast, efficient and reliable, and has successfully treated countless medical conditions under the supervision of a doctor specialized in the treatment of mass casualty incidents. Services include domestic and international air transport, flights, local search and rescue, booking of airline tickets, helicopter transport, medical reports, domestic and international medical escort, transportation of newborns, assistance in obtaining visas, in addition to arrival and departure assistance at the airport. All this aims to facilitate medical transport issues and provide better service to patients and injured people.

Air Ambulance Developments

For instance, AMR Air Ambulance provides air ambulance services for countries all across the world, the only exception being countries enduring military conflict within their borders. AMR Air Ambulance assures safe travel for anyone facing medical emergencies by fixed-wing aircraft, the same means of transportation for our domestic flight. On-board intensive care units and equipment are provided as well.

In addition, AMR Air Ambulance provides VIP services with its new ICU-equipped Challenger Aircraft. The plane can fly non-stop from the Middle East to the United States. Air Ambulance uses fixed-wing planes or helicopters in order to transfer critically ill patients from and to healthcare facilities for better treatment.

The idea of adopting air ambulance in the Arab world has been gradually and rapidly expanding, which will ensure full reliability on this sector in the field of ambulances and transporting patients under the best security and safety conditions. In this field, air fleets have started providing these services and are fully equipped with the latest medical tools and are under the supervision of the most skilled specialist doctors and their assistants who are highly trained to ensure the safety of the patient and the comfort of his family.

Many are unaware of the fact that patients’ medical care in air transport is less dangerous for the patient than in hospital. Death and disability due to severe injuries, heart attacks, strokes, medical and surgical complications, and other time-dependent conditions can be often avoided if adequate care is provided quickly enough. Air medical services are therefore a means of overcoming obstacles and risks of geography and time.

Today, financial pressures, insurance issues, change of federal regulations and competition, as well as changes in many cases impose reducing services or closing of emergency departments, hospitals and specialist doctors. These factors have contributed to the increased use of the AMS to transfer patients to specialized centers, particularly from remote areas. Medical transport services provide: cardiac care including heart attacks, cerebrovascular symptoms, strokes, pregnancy complications, children health problems, complex surgical and medical conditions and mass injuries.

Double Economic Impact

With all these medical features, there are those who are asking about the economic feasibility of such services and their impact on the sector.

The transportation of pharmaceutical products is a highly profitable business including land, sea and air modes. But the absence of an organization that sets unified standards for the sector has affected the industry in general. Experts believe that the flourishing of the global pharmaceutical industry has helped increase supply, and that reliability and safety are important to increase this traffic and thus benefit from it. This has in turn led to a booming pharmaceutical industry at the global level.

The basic concept of the so-called “double impact” in the economy is that the initial purchase of a good or service generates an additional economic activity that is related to expenditure on former suppliers and employment of subsequent users. In regard to the shipping sector and the transportation of equipment, medicines and patients, it shows day after day how big and important its impact is whether to improve medical services and provide them with maximum speed, or to influence the activation of economic activity.

Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft cost millions of dollars to purchase or lease, operate, house and maintain.  Highly trained crews available on a 24-hour/7 days per week basis, and the infrastructure which governs, trains, funds, supports, and links them and their service to the EMS system, are also expensive.

As few systems are publicly funded, maintaining the availability of this essential resource inevitably translates into a single patient mission charge that seems expensive in comparison with a lower-priced ground ambulance for the same mission. It has proven a mistake, however, to make such an isolated comparison and to equate the lower charge with cost-effectiveness and the higher charge with cost-prohibitiveness.

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