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AAH secures exclusive direct-to-pharmacy deal for AstraZeneca products

AstraZeneca: We're looking to simplify our distribution model to help meet economic objectives
AstraZeneca: We're looking to simplify our distribution model to help meet economic objectives

AAH will become the sole distributor of AstraZeneca products to all pharmacies in the UK from next month, the wholesaler has confirmed.

The exclusive direct-to-pharmacy (DTP) distribution agreement comes into effect on July 1, at which point pharmacies, hospitals and dispensing doctors across the UK will only be able to purchase AstraZeneca products through AAH.

The manufacturer currently uses a multiple agent, DTP model for the distribution of its medicines in the UK, the manufacturer told C+D yesterday (June 12).

AstraZeneca is now looking to “simplify” this model “to help meet sustainability, environmental and economic objectives”, it said.

“Our focus is on maintaining an effective and efficient delivery service to our customers and approximately one million patients who are using our medicines in the UK,” it added.

AAH said it is “really excited about this partnership and the opportunity to further help our customers to get the products they need, when they need them”.

Historic DTP deals

In 2007, Alliance Healthcare became the sole distributor of Pfizer products, in the first deal of its kind in the UK.

The agreement was met with hostility from pharmacists, with a Pfizer consultation in 2009 finding that 74% of pharmacists were unhappy with the DTP system.

Despite this, the deal was renewed in 2010 and was followed by similar agreements between Lundbeck and Alliance Healthcare in 2012, as well as Ferring Pharmaceuticals and AAH in 2013.

Last year, GlaxoSmithKline moved from a DTP model to “reduced wholesaler model”, allowing pharmacy contractors to buy from “specific wholesalers” – Alliance, AAH and Phoenix.

5 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of AstraZeneca's DTP deal with AAH?

R A, Community pharmacist

Here we have a cartel two big wholesalers who have carved up exclusive drug deals that will hardly offer value for money!

david williams, Community pharmacist

"Environmental" read control. Sustainability-not for community pharmacy. I am fed up of the hipocrisy. I dispense Libra (Abbott) at a loss of £7.00 per month. I have no issue with a pharmaceutical company saying, "it's our stock, our price, you are shafted if you get a script for it, get over it and buy shares in  our company, if you want to make money.".If patients suffer, tuff, if governments can't afford healthcare, tuff. We are not a charity, but a profit driven business, constantly looking to increase our profitability in a capatilistic society.

I genuinely have no issues with that attitude, that is what drives the economy. However, cut the crap and and be upfront. We want more control of our product and its distibution /price. 

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

My understanding is that the wholesaler never owns the stock; they just store, process, deliver and invoice for it.  Really wish CMA looked into this properly, there have been issues with quotas ever snce the Pfizer/Unichem deal went through in 2007.  Would be very interested to see a report of adverse events due to this activity which, I believe, is about nothing other than protecting profits.

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

They are currently on a an 'agency' basis as they are, so the wholesaler never owns the stock. 

Did you see them trying to pull the 'environmental' card in this statement! Lols. If anything, it will increase it for those who do not get regular AAH deliveries it will involve an extra delivery. Especially as far as I can see, the only solus manufacturer AAH have is Ipsen, which for most will not be a big volume manufacturer. 

Why don't they just come out and admit they are going to do the dirty, reduce discounts to say 2% (not ZD) so everyone gets really screwed on their lines and with only one wholesaler the risk of stock being siphoned off to the grey market will be even further reduced. 

We need a system like Germany, where quotas are actually illegal. If they have the stock, they are oblidged to sell it to the pharmacy. Anything else is seen as anti-competitive and a restriction on the free market. 

Which pharmacy bodies and/or politicians have the gumption to push for that??

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

""direct-to-pharmacy ""

What a misnomer. It never comes directly to a pharmacy and the pharmacy never gets any discount unless tied up with some kind of minimum purchase deal. 

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