Pharma
26. February 2021

INTERVIEW WITH Ron Cruse

Mr. Ron Cruse, Founder and CEO of Logenix International, has had a front-row seat for every major world crisis over the past thirty years, traveling over 2 million miles throughout 85 countries.
In 1986 Mr. Cruse founded Matrix International, pioneering evolutionary logistics capabilities across Africa and Asia. In 1992 he organized one of the first post-Soviet ventures in the New Republics; operating the largest humanitarian relief program of the last fifty years, delivering equipment for RBMK nuclear reactor modernization, and transporting Nunn-Lugar weapons dismantlement equipment to the former ‘secret’ cities. Becoming a prized acquisition, Matrix was sold in 1996.
Mr. Cruse established Logenix International in 2001. Logenix is a logistics provider for global health programs, disaster relief as well as other high-profile projects in the world’s most challenging regions.
A recognized thought leader, Cruse has been profiled in Forbes, INC, and industry magazines such as Logistics Today. Cruse’s career journey is the inspiration for his acclaimed book, Lies, Bribes & Peril, providing cultural insights to the down-in-the-trenches training necessary to navigate the real world. The book has been utilized by over a dozen US universities.


1.You have rightfully described the distribution of COVID vaccines as the greatest challenge of the 21st century. How does your company cope with the ever-changing regulations a limited infrastructure that may create a blockade to vaccine delivery?
We don’t expect ‘ever-changing’ regulations to be a major problem with vaccine delivery across the developing world. For most countries, once the WHO makes an Emergency Use Authorization the vaccine will be able to be imported with the required documentation as per that country’s regulations. It is possible, and likely, that concerns of counterfeit vaccines being imported will cause some potential regulatory issues. The vaccines will be a scarce and very valuable medical therapy that always attracts counterfeiters. We are expecting challenges concerning theft to arise at the destination. As regards theft, the Lloyds insurance facility organized for the vaccine is specifically requiring armed escort within destination countries for the coverage to be valid.
Depending upon the quantities of vaccines sent at any given time, we do not expect freight carriage to be a huge challenge except for those countries that have limited, or no, direct service from Europe and/or India (we expect India to be a major origin for vaccines destined for the developing world).
 
2.Not to mention the challenges with the limited cold chain infrastructure. How is the situation at African airports?
The cold chain infrastructure to the developing countries of destination is not prohibitively limited. With proper planning most countries can be supplied. What is limited is the knowledge and proper protocols for packaging, shipping, and delivering cold chain medicines/vaccines. Also, the knowledge and protocols can be quite different for frozen cold chain as compared to the refrigerated cold chain. Depending on which vaccine is being shipping, Moderna or Astra Zeneca, for example, the cold chain requirements and hence protocols, are quite different. The Lloyds insurance facility also specifically exempts the Pfizer vaccine from the developing world coverage (most certainly due to the extreme frozen temperature that must be maintained).
So, the capabilities at African airports also differ according to the manner of the cold chain. Logenix has an index of every airport in Africa with the frozen and refrigerated capabilities and the volume of those capabilities. Most have some degree of refrigerated capacity, albeit limited in many cases, but many have no frozen capabilities. Planning and protocols then are critically important.
 
3.Your company is ready to deliver the vaccines to the most challenging geographies around the world. What is your opinion on the latest prognosis from the People’s Vaccine Alliance which says, that around 70 lower-income countries will only be able to vaccinate 1 in 10 people?
We are currently delivering cold chain medicines and Covid testing equipment, both frozen and refrigerated, across Africa and Asia. Many lower-income countries do not have vaccination programs, and I think the 1 in 10 people estimate reflects that fact. The Covax estimates are based, at least partially, on the limited flu vaccine thresholds reached in the past. Another aspect of the prognosis, in my opinion, Covax may be assuming limited availability of vaccines in lower-income countries. As far as that is concerned, let’s hope the well-developed countries of the world, the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, etc., make that aspect moot. The world cannot escape Covid and potential mutations until all countries reach herd immunity.  Lastly, I believe an aspect of the is fear of the Covid vaccines, as with other vaccines as well, across many lower-income countries. Education campaigns across the developed world will be necessary to combat the fear of the vaccine itself.
  
4.What is your opinion about positioning WOF EXPO in the Central and Eastern Europe region?

I think it’s great. It’s a culturally rich region of the world growing each year in global economic importance. I believe everyone will enjoy visiting and learning about the region.
 


Logenix international, founded in 2001, was an integral cog in the post-conflict infrastructure development of Afghanistan and Iraq and is the industry leader for health, power and water infrastructure programs across the most challenging regions of the globe. Today, Logenix delivers more essential medicines throughout the developing world than any industry competitor. Since the beginning of the COVID-19, pandemic Logenix has been at the forefront of the supply chain circumventing, daily disruptions of a global scale to originate and deliver humanitarian relief to and throughout the developing world. Logenix is supporting the COVID response throughout Africa and across the global south, servicing the majority of low and middle-income countries. Logenix is working around the clock, providing our client innovative and unique solutions to continue to support shipments globally to help strengthen the medical infrastructure of nations and prepare the world to combat this growing health crisis.

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