BAPW Annual Conference June 2015 - Welcome

A very warm welcome to all attending our 2015 BAPW Annual Conference – we hope you have a great day learning about some current issues, identifying opportunities for the future and of course, making the most of the networking. This Summer Newsletter is also an update for a wider audience on many of the different strands of the work of your Association.

 

I am pleased to be able to say that our membership now includes a larger proportion of the UK’s distribution and wholesale medicines sector than at any previous time. Our membership currently distributes 85% of NHS medicines by value and over 90% by volume. That is surely testament to our sector’s innovation, investment and evidence of benefit.

 

Our member companies’ ability to respond and embrace change is again proof that the moniker ‘good old-fashioned box shifters’ has had its day. BAPW members distribute healthcare. We know there is a patient at the end of our supply chain and it’s personal. We can do timely and reliable supply on a massive scale.

 

At a time when pressure on NHS funding is intense, it is essential that existing resources are used efficiently. The pharmaceutical wholesaler and distribution network is just such a resource, and its inherent ‘value for money’ still guarantees safe medicine delivery on average eleven times per week. 

 

Collaboration has been proposed as a way forward in rapidly reconfiguring environments, and, indeed, collaboration has been the watchword for BAPW’s mission over the last twelve months. We can see this theme being developed in the pages of this Newsletter, whether it is working with Pharmacy Voice on the project to harmonise stock codes, or with the ABPI to develop supply best practice. We have also been working alongside the MHRA to produce a Gold Standard Training module for the UK’s Responsible Persons. The BAPW’s role as a founding member of the UK’s European Stakeholder Model, managing the implementation of the EU Falsified Medicines Directive, demonstrates more formal example of collaboration. Another future area of collaboration will feature BAPW, the NHS and manufacturer representation, as we all seek to define more efficient, but beneficial medicines supplies to hospitals.  In Europe, BAPW is playing an active role through our trade body, GIRP, with BAPW representation on key committees and working groups. We have also been involved in ad hoc meetings with other European representative bodies on topical issues such as the FMD and supply shortages.

 

However, I will finish on a note of caution. This great and adaptable infrastructure needs assurance that future innovations and schemes do not also come with too many unnecessary restrictions, whether it be GMP requirements over GDP, or such cost implications that make distribution difficult. Our flexible and guaranteed supply chain only benefits patients when wholesalers can be adaptable in response to patient needs on a day-by-day basis.

 

Be assured though, that BAPW will argue for the benefits and value of the wholesale sector at the highest levels and, by collaborating on joint initiatives this message must slowly, but surely, get across and be recognised.

 

Martin Sawer, BAPW Executive Director

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