ASTRAZENECA has confirmed that effective from tomorrow it will be changing the way it distributes about a quarter of its brands to retail pharmacies in Australia.
The change will see pharmacies ordering nine AstraZeneca products direct from the company with deliveries provided via DHL.
Affected items include Zoladex, ZolaCos, Cosudex, Iressa, Lynparza, Tagrisso, Brilinta, Bydureon and Byetta, with the company saying the move will allow it to “monitor supply and demand for these specialised products more closely, respond to market need with greater speed and accuracy and improve efficiencies”.
A total of 32 other AstraZeneca products will continue to be distributed to retail pharmacies via existing wholesale distributors, who will also continue to meet all of the company’s hospital pharmacy distribution requirements.
“AstraZeneca will be working closely with wholesalers and pharmacists over the coming weeks to support a smooth transition…whilst retail pharmacies will need to make some administrative changes to their ordering process, we don’t expect patients to be affected,” the company said.
Sigma Healthcare issued a trading update in relation to the move (PD breaking news), saying it was looking to adjust trading terms for pharmacy customers as one of a number of options under consideration to mitigate the impact of the change.
The company said the nine AZ products withdrawn from wholesale distribution accounted for about 1% of its annual sales, with Sigma’s forecast profits for 2018 and 2019 unaffected.
Sigma said the Pharmacy Guild and the National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) were consulting with the government to mandate availability of PBS products via CSO wholesalers.
A spokesperson for the Guild said it “supports the NPSA arguments and have also argued this case in our submission to the Pharmacy Review”.