The Healthcare Distribution Association reflects the changes in the supply chain that has seen pharmaceutical wholesalers become integrated health care service providers. The strong growth in homecare should also be recognised and the growing demand for patient outcome data. The distribution industry has to change, with wholesalers taking more of a role in central dispensing, informatics and big data, as well as reacting to continued consolidation, online pharmacies and new picking and delivery mechanisms.
The HDA is therefore being established to promote the more varied comprehensive medicines wholesaling, distribution and associated services now provided by a more diverse range of businesses that ensure resilience, certainty and flexibility for patients, manufacturers and healthcare institutions across the four countries of the United Kingdom.
Patient safety is our guiding principle and this can be embodied in the mantra:
“the right treatment, in the right place, and at the right time”
Inherent within this simple statement are some core principles that our member companies adhere to, and should be respected for, namely:
- the ability to source medicines and treatments used across the NHS;
- the ability to store and keep these medicines safely and under clinically-required conditions until required by hospitals, pharmacies and doctors in all locations across the four countries of the United Kingdom
- our members adhere to, and promote the highest standards of Good Distribution Practice (GDP)
- As needed, we can then distribute these healthcare treatments speedily
This is the certainty and security guaranteed by a successful medicines supply chain.
The NHS and patients rely on it 7 days every week.
This resilience has been recognised by the NHS in the pandemic planning and purchasing that has been undertaken over recent years and was specifically acknowledged by the Health Minister in 2012, when your Association took a leading role in the preparations required for the disruption to healthcare distribution caused by the London Olympics and Paralympics. In addition, our members are able to respond to any emergency situation, whether it be natural, as in the case of storms and floods, or man-made, to ensure that medicines will get through.
Of course, we have to perform this universal distribution service at the highest levels of efficiency, otherwise our business partners in the supply chain and our payor – the UK Government and taxpayer – would not be using our services.
For example, if wholesalers and distributors did not exist in their current form – and each manufacturer was responsible for distribution of its own products – costs would be very significantly higher – as has been proven in other countries. Costs to the NHS.
Our member companies also deliver value to pharmacies, in fact if each manufacturer was responsible for distribution of its own products – pharmacies would have to deal with many more suppliers and would face less frequent deliveries.
Wholesalers and distributors enable important benefits for patients, including speedy and convenient access to medicines; safe access to medicines of a guaranteed quality which will produce improved adherence
We can deliver change
HDA member companies have delivered significant efficiencies, especially in the last five years. Our members are working with the new NHS to reflect changing distribution needs, whether it be under Lord Carter’s review in secondary care, or the new commissioning environment in the local community.