CSO for vaccine supply?

delivery van wholesaler

Pharmacy Guild national president Trent Twomey has questioned why the CSO wasn’t used for pharmacy vaccine supply

The Federal Government’s choice to use delivery contracts with Linfox and DHL were criticised in the mainstream media on Monday afternoon, with Mr Twomey suggesting a return to the Community Service Obligation for the rollout.

He told News Corp health reporter Sue Dunlevy that the pharmaceutical wholesalers “currently deliver almost 6,000 medicines to more than 5,500 pharmacies – generally within 24 hours”.

“Why set up a separate system and have to learn on the job when logistics experts already exist,” he said in comments also provided to the AJP.

“For whatever reason, that supply chain was not chosen to be the distribution mechanism for the national rollout,” he said.

According to Ms Dunlevy, following questions from News Corp and the Guild, the Government may now be considering the CSO wholesalers as an option.

She alleges that Linfox has subcontracted some smaller delivery jobs of vaccines to StarTrack, due to the large size of its own vehicles.

However the RACGP’s Dr Karen Price, while agreeing that delays in delivery were a challenge, the failure to provide enough Pfizer to meet patient demand is a more significant problem.

Richard Vincent, National Pharmaceutical Services Association chair and API CEO and managing director, said that the wholesalers have “unrivalled infrastructure when it comes to supplying community pharmacists”.

“Should the government deem it useful to involve us we stand ready, willing and able to help with the speedy distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.

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