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Wholesaling

PSNC warns AstraZeneca's direct-to-pharmacy distribution model may impact medicines supply chain

The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca’s move to supply its medicines through one wholesaler may decrease resilience in the supply chain, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has warned.

AAH Pharmaceuticals Ltd announced in a letter on 14 June 2019 that it would exclusively supply AstraZeneca products from 1 July 2019.

However, the PSNC has warned of possible effects of the pharmaceutical company’s decision to use a direct-to-pharmacy distribution model.

Commenting on AAH’s announcement, Suraj Shah, drug tariff and reimbursement manager at the PSNC, told The Pharmaceutical Journal: “The PSNC is not supportive of moves to restrict the distribution of medicines as this can decrease competition and resilience in the medicines supply chain.

“Navigating the increasingly complex supply chain, and in particular medicines shortages, continues to place a significant burden on community pharmacies.”

Pfizer made a similar move in 2007 to have its products supplied by a single distributor, UniChem. At the time, independent pharmacists said Pfizer’s new distribution model resulted in a “deterioration in the service level received for Pfizer products”.

Meanwhile, GSK announced in October 2018 that it would be moving away from a direct-to-pharmacy distribution model and would instead use three wholesalers. This was hailed as “incredibly positive for community pharmacy” by Jeremy Meader, managing director of pharmacy support business Numark.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206681

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