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Wholesalers 'stockpiling' drugs in shortage crisis, contractors warned

Rajiv Shah: Only use wholesalers who are transparent
Rajiv Shah: Only use wholesalers who are transparent

Stock shortages and the hoarding of medicines by wholesalers is the worst it has been "in recent memory", Sigma Pharmaceuticals has said.

Contractors have reported that other wholesalers are “stockpiling” medicines to drive up the price, as shortages mean stocks are “nowhere near enough to meet demand”, Rajiv Shah, director at pharmacy wholesalers Sigma Pharmaceuticals, told C+D at the Avicenna conference in Vietnam last month (October 24).

“What we’ve found from our customers’ feedback about others suppliers is that stock is being stockpiled at the wholesaler’s end,” Mr Shah told C+D. “Then miraculously when concessionary prices get announced…wholesalers [begin] telling them: ‘Stock’s available now’.”

Mr Shah warned against turning to price comparison websites to source “scarce” medicines, and urged contractors to only use suppliers and wholesalers “they trust and [who] are transparent”.

Watch the full interview below:

Have you come across wholesalers stockpiling medicines?

dilesh vyas, Pharmaceutical Adviser

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles.*

H Gokul, Community pharmacist

I have had problems with AAH whose behaviour is questionable. How they can legally impose quota as a wholeseller is beyond me. There is collusion at some level between manufacturers and whole sellers. Legislators and PSNC and compliance authorities act to ensure independant chemists loose out

Fuzzy Wuzzy, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

AAH are the biggest culprits in this, Alliance at least phone to let you know things are short in supply.  This is FRAUD on a major scale and should be investigated immediately.  These filthy companies are doing all they can to help destroy the NHS and move to a private model.  

struggling Proprietor, Community pharmacist

Alliance dont phone me; and when i phone them its costs me over a quid each times as they use a premium rate number for customer services (preston branch)


H Gokul, Community pharmacist

Don't phone me either

Dodgy companies don't pay tax and charge us for premiun phone numbers

Caring Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

AAH , Alliance and Phoenix at its best to kill off independent contractors by charging more than DT prices on generics and making Branded drugs unavailable without a reason. As a group still making themselves mega profits on wholesale side by causing this artificial scarcity in the market.

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Why don't people go with Mawdsley's as one of their main suppliers? Or other smaller wholesalers...I find they are helpful when you call up and happy to discuss prices. Apologies if it's an ignorant question- I am not a contractor but feel AAH and Alliance are pretty poor in comparison. 

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Even the short-line suppliers are making merry of the situation. Its not just the big wholesalers, everyone including the manufacturers are hand in glove in this SCAM. There is nothing, an independent pharmacy or small ind-chain, can do about it.

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Fair enough.. I know of one independent pharmacy that is sending away patients where items are too expensive and no concessionary prices have been agreed. It's not ideal for the patient but the pharmacy cannot be expected to take on such losses on top of funding cuts. The government needs to take action to stop wholesalers stockpiling medicines and driving up prices. I won't hold my breath though..

H Gokul, Community pharmacist

you are right. With dodgy people in charge what do you expect. By making unreasonable demands for the paper work they keep us occupied and meanwhile they make huge profits at the expene of independats. 

We have to buy from our competitors whole sale armand make profits for them!

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