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BAPW overhauls standards to address supply chain weaknesses

Practice The wholesaler association has tightened its ‘gold standard’ of medicines distribution to ensure safe delivery of medicines and crack down on counterfeits

UK wholesalers have vowed to tighten their standards in a bid to ensure safe delivery of medicines and crack down on counterfeits.

The British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) revamped its ‘gold standard' of medicines distribution this week (October 23), to reflect new EU regulations to address weaknesses in the supply chain.

The good distribution practice regulations, set out by the European Commission last month, call on supply chain members to ensure quality in personnel, premises and procurement.

The BAPW said its revised gold standard would ensure wholesalers understood and complied with the regulations, due to come into force in March. All nine BAPW members will have to sign up to the guidance, which requires wholesalers to ensure they store medicines in a secure environment, use suitable computer systems and check the integrity of suppliers.

BAPW chief executive Martin Sawer and pharmacy minister Earl Howe at the launch of its revised 'gold standard' of medicines distribution to reflect new EU regulations that address weaknesses in the supply chain

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Pharmacy minister Earl Howe launched the guidance at a parliamentary reception hosted by all-party pharmacy group chair Kevin Baron MP on Wednesday (October 23) and said the new standards would provide "an important contribution to the protection of public health". "Full compliance by wholesale distributors with good distribution practice is of prime importance in achieving a safe and secure supply chain," he stressed.

BAPW chief executive Martin Sawer told C+D it was important for the wholesaler organisation to set the highest standards possible.

Along with the falsified medicines directive - the EU dictat to crack down on counterfeiting that came into force in August – the guidance would increase confidence in the supply chain by combating the threat from organised crime, he added.

The guidance was drafted by the BAPW's responsible person's committee, made up of qualified individuals from each of the BAPW's wholesaler and distributor member companies.

Read Martin Sawer's blog – Time to speak up on the falsified medicines directive

Can a UK wholesaler standard do enough to protect public health?

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