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Wholesaler body: Pharmacies not at risk of exceeding credit limit

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Martin Sawer: The credit limit issue is critical for pharmacy

Most pharmacies should not be at risk of being unable to dispense medicines after reaching their credit limit with wholesalers, according to the head of a wholesaler body.

The recent deluge of scripts, up to triple the usual volume, has pushed some pharmacies to breaking point during COVID-19. Some have had to buy so much medicine to meet demand that they have reached the credit limit on their wholesaler account, potentially imperilling their ability to purchase drugs.

But Martin Sawer, executive director of the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA), says that only a “small number” of pharmacies might have challenges with their credit limit with his members.

“I have been told that there is a lot of flexibility being allowed on those caps. Wholesalers have put on extra customer service teams to try and deal with all those regular customers who have that issue,” Mr Sawer told C+D last Friday (May 1).

“If there are any issues with with any of my members, then please do pass them on.” HDA members include AAH, Alliance Healthcare, Lexon and Phoenix.

Listen to the podcast to hear about:

  • Demand from community pharmacy for medicines returning to normal
  • How contractors can deal with medicines price hikes
  • The ups and downs wholesalers experienced during COVID-19, resulting in them being offered army support

You can listen to the podcast below. Alternatively, subscribe to C+D's podcasts on iTunes or by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred Android podcast app.

Please note, the sound quality of this podcast may be affected as it has been recorded remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak

To keep up with the latest updates for community pharmacy visit our COVID-19 hub.

5 Comments
Question: 
How has the supply of medicines to your pharmacy been affected during COVID-19?

Dave Downham, Manager

You might want to have a word with one of your members' credit control departments...

John Cleese, Production & Technical

I'm sure many people would be in alliance with you on this one.

Greatly Pedantic and Highly Clueless, Senior Management

The fact that so few wholesalers have such a dominant position is the real problem. In the past they have brought up chains of pharmacies to maintain critical mass for their wholesaling businesses. Similar to the pub industry, brewers such not be allowed to own pubs and wholesalers should be banned from owning pharmacies. 

O J, Community pharmacist

Another Matt Hancock

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

The easy answer is, it hasn't! We are still having to beg and waste time and resources to obtain stock which is n plentiful supply but which wholesalers want to control to maximise their profits and to the devil with anyone else.
Crisis? What crisis?
If you are telling me the DoH aren't aware then their competence is even less than I thought, and that's low. The shameful thing is the Pharmacy contractors unwilling to rock the boat and lose their slice of the pie, despite their Pharmacy teams and patients being placed in an invidious position

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Pharmacist Manager
Wrexham , North Wales
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