AstraZeneca’s exit, a win for customers

Symbion CEO Brett Barons believes pharmacists and patients are the major beneficiaries of AstraZeneca’s decision to exit its exclusive-direct distribution arrangements.

The decision means AstraZeneca will return supply of its PBS medicines through the full-line CSO wholesaler, effectively reversing the decision almost two years ago when the company moved nine of its high value medicines to an exclusive-direct supply model through logistics company DHL.

It also comes less than 12 months after AstraZeneca announced it was amending its exclusive-direct distribution arrangement, making all of its PBS product lines available through both DHL and CSO wholesalers.

“We’ve had a clear indication from our customers that they don’t like exclusive-direct supply of medicines and the evidence from AstraZeneca’s move is clear,” Mr Barons said.

“Exclusive-direct supply arrangements add an unnecessary layer of administrative complexity for pharmacists and offer no protection for patients because there are no service standards.

“It’s pleasing that AstraZeneca has listened to this feedback from community pharmacists because these decisions ultimately impact on their ability to meet the expectations of their patients.”

Mr Barons said the transition back to Symbion, which takes effect from October 1, 2019, will be seamless and have immediate benefits for its 3000-plus community pharmacy customers across Australia.

“In line with our commitment to ensuring 24-hour access to the full range of PBS medicines per the terms of the CSO, Symbion already buys, holds, ranges, picks, packs and delivers the full range of PBS products manufactured by AstraZeneca.

“AstraZeneca’s decision once again reinforces our view that CSO wholesaling is the most effective and efficient framework for ensuring that all Australians have timely and affordable access to PBS medicines through their local community pharmacy.” he said.

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