Pharmacists seek new supply chain vision

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The National Pharmacy Association, which represents community pharmacies, is calling on members to get involved in developing a new vision for the medicines supply chain for the medium and long term.

Surveys by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain over the past few months have highlighted problems in the supply chain resulting in shortages of medicines.  

NPA chairman Ian Facer said: “Over the past few years we have witnessed major structural changes to the UK’s medicines supply chain. While the majority of NPA members oppose ‘Direct to Pharmacy’ and limited distribution arrangements, the question must be asked: what is the best alternative? Is a return to the ‘traditional’ pre-DTP structure realistic? Or is a complete re-shaping of the supply model needed?”

IN recent months pharmacists have had to deal with concerns over shortages of medicines as a result of problems in the pharmacy supply chain.

The NPA points to the falling value of the pound and changes to the product supply introduced by manufacturers that have significantly changed the way the supply chain operates and has been lobby government, manufacturers and wholesalers to ensure that the supply chain works and allows its members to run an efficient and profitable pharmacy.

Facer said: “The NPA intends to facilitate community pharmacy in shaping the supply chain, and to this end is seeking to build a consensus on what constitutes a desirable supply model. Having a clear vision of how the supply chain should operate will put us in a stronger position to achieve the structure that works best for pharmacies and patients.”

Now it is planning a “Medicines Supply Chain Visioning Event” on 30th June to look at medicines supply models worldwide.

Last month a survey by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain found that medicine shortages were still a problem. Chief executive Jeremy Holmes said: “Over half of members (57 per cent) surveyed said the situation has not really changed for them since we originally questioned them on the issue back in February, while a further 40 per cent felt it had got worse.

“Pharmacists are continuing to dedicate precious time trying to obtain medicines for patients, when they could be spending it on direct patient care. This lamentable state of affairs needs to be addressed urgently.”

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