Exclusive distribution ends

AstraZeneca will use a new distribution model from February 2019, claiming the new model will not cherry-pick and there will be no exclusive deals.

Currently, pharmacists can order all AstraZeneca medicines via courier company DHL, and from February 1, 2019, pharmacists will also be able to order the full range through their preferred wholesaler.

AstraZeneca says it has listened to feedback from the industry.

“The new model will be competitive and will ensure pharmacists have contingencies for supply,” the company’s Country President Australia and New Zealand Liz Chatwin said.

“As our environment is evolving, we need to change the way we make our medicines available. Community pharmacy and wholesalers asked us for choice and access to all of our medicines. We’re confident that our new model will provide this. It will be competitive and deliver for patients.”

Symbion CEO Brett Barons told Retail Pharmacy magazine the wholesaler welcomed AstraZeneca’s response to industry feedback, saying pharmacists wanted a choice.

“For some time, we’ve been hearing from our customers that the exclusive direct-distribution model doesn’t work for pharmacists, a position that has been reiterated by the [Pharmacy] Guild,” he said.

“We’re pleased that AstraZeneca has listened to the concerns of pharmacists about the exclusive direct-distribution model and we’re also pleased that AstraZeneca is supporting the CSO [community service obligation] distributors.

“This move shows that full-line CSO wholesalers are the best channel for the distribution of all PBS medicines across Australia.

“We also welcome the proposed changes to the CSO set to be introduced by the federal government and we have confidence in our ability to maintain our position as a wholesaler of choice.”

Guild National President George Tambassis also welcomed the change, thanking AstraZeneca for addressing one of the Guild’s key concerns regarding exclusive direct arrangements.

“Our members will now have choice to ensure patients have access to these important medicines from multiple sources,” he said.

AstraZeneca is partnering with Arrow Pharmaceuticals during the transition to support pharmacists and will also work with wholesalers to ensure they are able to access its full range, including the 14 AstraZeneca medicines previously only made available via DHL.