PSNC raises concerns about restricted distribution arrangements

PSNC raises concerns about restricted distribution arrangements

September 20, 2017

Contractors will be aware that Alliance Healthcare experienced a power failure on 7 September, leading to disruption of services to community pharmacies.

On 12 September all pharmacies were advised that they could resume placing orders as normal, and on 13 September Alliance said that twice-daily deliveries had resumed for all customers.

During the disruption, pharmacies across the country faced massive problems sourcing supplies to meet patients’ needs, particularly securing medicines only distributed through Alliance.

PSNC Chief Executive Sue Sharpe said:

“PSNC was very concerned about the impact that the problems at Alliance Healthcare had on community pharmacies. We know how much harder many community pharmacy teams had to work to ensure that patients had access to the medicines they needed; and of course this came at a time when pharmacies are already under immense pressure. Only the hard work and extraordinary efforts of pharmacies prevented this closure leading to a catastrophic impact on the NHS caused by many thousands of patients being unable to get the medicines they needed.

PSNC is and has always been very concerned about Direct to Pharmacy arrangements involving a sole supplier of any given medicine to pharmacies. The reliance on a single supplier exacerbates the risks for pharmacies and makes it more likely that any supply problems will leave them unable to meet patients’ needs. When these arrangements first began a few years ago we opposed them. We have continued to monitor the situation since then and after the problems last week we have again escalated the issue with the Department of Health.

PSNC remains of the view that a wholesale market which promotes competition and allows pharmacies to choose from a number of medicines suppliers is the best way to ensure that we retain a resilient medicines supply chain and that community pharmacies can continue to provide patients with the medicines they need, when they need them. We will do all that we can to promote this.”

PSNC Committee Member and independent contractor Gary Warner has also commented on community pharmacy supply arrangements.

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