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Wholesalers braced for spikes in flu vaccine demand

Martin Sawer: Prepared to move products around the country overnight if needed

BAPW could act as a broker between pharmacists and wholesalers if England's national flu service results in local vaccine shortages, says chief executive Martin Sawer


Wholesalers have urged pharmacists delivering England's national flu service to get in contact when they anticipate spikes in vaccine demand.

The British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) is prepared to “move product around the country overnight if there’s a clinical need”, executive director Martin Sawer told C+D.

The representative body has the ability to act as a broker between several wholesalers and local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) in areas experiencing high vaccine demand due to the national service scheduled to rollout this month, Mr Sawer told C+D last week (September 3).

The BAPW does not want to “stand in the way” of pharmacists’ existing relationships with their chosen wholesaler, but is “happy to help under more extreme circumstances”, he said.

“If they feel vaccine levels are getting too low or lots of [patients] in at-risk groups need vaccines, then please get in touch with the BAPW and we will be able to put them in touch with all the wholesalers at once,” Mr Sawer said.

The organisation has learned from previous flu vaccine programmes in London and Manchester, where the BAPW held conference calls with pharmacy groups to ensure their members remained stocked, he added.

In August, LPCs expressed concerns that the flu service could be delayed until October due to unresolved “operational questions”. Manufacturers assured C+D later in the month that they were on track to deliver the vaccines to pharmacies in September.

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Z ZZzzzz, Information Technology

Could Mr Sawer do the same with "normal" fridge lines? When our local depot of AAH runs out of fridge lines they refuse to order them from another depot that has stock on our behalf claiming it would cost them £50 to do so - stuff the patient seems to be their mentality. Perhaps C&D journalists could look into that murky practice on behalf of patients.

Chris Frost, Work for a pharmaceutical company

Hello AA, This is not AAH policy and is not how we treat our customers (or your patients). If you are happy to share your details, I am really happy to look into this for you. Chris Frost (Sales Director, AAH)

Z ZZzzzz, Information Technology

Chris. The product concerned was VSL3 sachets. The time was Nov 2014 and there was a bit of a shortage. Between Ferring and AAH there was an agreement not to share stock between depots due to the cost of moving. Left patients in the lurch. I won't give you anymore details of the conversations I had last year but suffice to say I wish the Blacklist Committee was re-instated!

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