22 APRIL 2020 – The supply chain has been experiencing extraordinary demand and pressure due to COVID-19 and all stakeholders in the industry are working to address these issues.
There are shortages of certain medicines and fluctuations in supply which are being constructively managed. It is vital to understand that any supply or medicine availability issues are being experienced nationally. Measures put in place by wholesalers are deliberately supporting the equitable distribution of available medicines to all pharmacies across Australia.
Like all jurisdictions, Australia is feeling the effects of unprecedented international freight disruption. When a medicine is in stock and available to wholesalers, orders are being filled promptly and medicines distributed fairly and equitably.
The NPSA has been providing regular updates on stock availability to the Government, the TGA, pharmaceutical companies and the Pharmacy Guild via regular working groups or via our obligatory reporting to the CSO Agency. Considerable progress has been made as all stakeholders work productively to address circumstances that have never been encountered before.
In early March following panic buying and a surge in demand, the NPSA was proactive in initiating adjustments to the CSO Deeds and implementing measures to help manage the volatile early response to the pandemic and preserve medicine availability. In addition, NPSA secured ACCC authorisation to allow members to work collaboratively to manage supply chain issues. Putting government-supported restrictions in place on some medicines has helped ensure that medicines in high demand are not stock-piled but are available to distribute equitably across the community to those who need them most, including small and rural pharmacies.
NPSA members appreciate the hard work and dedication of small and rural pharmacies and the difficulties faced when a medicine is in short supply, especially when there is no nearby pharmacy to fill any gaps in stock to meet patient need. Wholesalers are in constant contact with pharmacies to provide information and updates. Their needs are clearly understood, and the changes advocated and adopted by wholesalers reinforce that.
Distribution centres are working optimally and NPSA staff are overcoming border closures and social distancing measures implemented in response to COVID-19.
Contact: Myles Wallace, Michels Warren PR, 0432 866 094
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.