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Pharmaceutical manufacturer decides to ditch direct distribution model

AstraZeneca has announced it would exit its exclusive-direct distribution arrangements and return supply of its PBS medicines to the full-line CSO wholesaler Symbion from 1 October 2019.

The decision comes nearly two years after AstraZeneca moved nine of its high value medicines to an exclusive-direct supply model through logistics company DHL.

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

AstraZeneca announced in late 2017 revealed that it would be exclusively distributing nine product ranges via direct distribution:

  • Brilinta (ticagrelor)
  • Bydureon (exenatide inj)
  • Byetta (exenatide)
  • Cosudex (bicalutamide)
  • Iressa (gefitinib)
  • Lynparza (olaparib)
  • Tagrisso (osimertinib)
  • Zoladex (goserelin acetate)
  • ZolaCos (goserelin-bicalutamide)

Now, just two years later, Symbion CEO Brett Barons has declared pharmacists and patients are the major beneficiaries of the decision to return to the full-line model. 

“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,” he 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, would be seamless and have immediate benefits for its 3000-plus community pharmacy customers across Australia.

“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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