MEDIA RELEASE 31 MARCH 2020 – The National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) has welcomed interim authorisation from the ACCC that will allow further proactive measures to support the continuous, fair and equitable supply of medicines across Australia in response to COVID-19.
NPSA, a peak industry group, applied for authorisation on behalf of its members including API, Sigma, Symbion and National Pharmacies.
The ACCC has agreed to allow the companies to work collaboratively to help manage the wholesale and retail supply of medicines and pharmacy products across Australia. (see link to media release below)
NPSA Chairman Mark Hooper said, “This is an important development, which will build on emergency measures taken by each wholesaler, government and other stakeholders to appropriately calibrate and optimise the medicines supply chain as we respond to increased demand for both medicines and pharmacy products during this crisis.
“We thank the ACCC for its quick consideration of this matter, which will deliver benefits for consumers by assisting wholesalers in several key practical ways including allowing sustainable coordination of stock acquisition, liaising with medicine manufacturers on purchasing and importing logistics, coordinating inventory management strategies and sharing of distribution centre resources.”
The medicine wholesalers provide a vital national infrastructure employing 3,400 people in 36 distribution centres nationwide and through a national transport network to keep medicines moving 24 hours a day to 5,500 pharmacies throughout Australia.
“I’m proud of the tireless work and dedication I am seeing across our sector at a time when our resources are stretched to the limit. We are liaising closely with government and other industry stakeholders and it has been pleasing to see urgent problem-solving and constructive initiatives that have really made a difference,” Mr Hooper said.
The interim ACCC authorisation excludes any price coordination in relation to the sourcing and supply of medicines and pharmacy products.
Elizabeth Cuming, Executive Director NPSA, 0417 119 214
The National Pharmaceutical Services Association represents CSO* wholesalers Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, National Pharmacies, Sigma Healthcare and Symbion. NPSA members are part of Australia’s Critical National Infrastructure.
*Community Service Obligation Wholesalers, on behalf of the Australian Government, supply around 300m PBS medicines per year to Australians regardless of where they reside within 24 hours of ordering.