Keeping the shelves stocked

DHL remains out of the CSO loop as accepted tenders are revealed

Tenders from six distributors have been accepted for Community Service Obligation (CSO) funding, the Department of Health has announced.

In an announcement released on Friday 29 March, the Department said: “As a result of the current ITA process, the following companies have been appointed as CSO Distributors commencing 1 April 2019”:

  • Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (National Distributor);
  • Barrett Distributors Pty. Ltd. (State Distributor);
  • Clifford Hallam Healthcare Pty Limited (National Distributor);
  • Sigma Healthcare Limited (National Distributor);
  • Symbion Pty Ltd (National Distributor); and
  • Friendly Society Medical Association Limited, also known as National Pharmacies (State Distributor).

The decision includes the four members of the National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) as well as primarily hospital suppliers Barrett Distributors (Victoria) and Clifford Hallam Healthcare.

In a statement, NPSA said it welcomed the announcement that its four member organisations – Sigma Healthcare, Symbion, Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) and NPD (National Pharmacies) – have been reappointed to participate in the Community Service Obligation (CSO).

The new contracts will commence on 1 April 2019 and run until 30 June 2020, with the option of an initial extension of two years and the provision for a further two, one-year extensions until 30 June 2024.

However DHL, the distributors who oversee Pfizer Direct deliveries were not included in the CSO, despite much previous speculation, including from NPSA chair Mark Hooper. 

Mr Hooper said he welcomed the continuing commitment by the Government to supporting universal access to medicines through the wholesale distribution system.

“The CSO is a world-class example of public health policy that supports the national interest. Government, pharmacists and patients benefit despite the unique logistical and cost challenges of medicine distribution in a country the size of Australia,” he said.

“This ensures that all Australians, regardless of location, can rely on timely delivery of all PBS medicines to and through their community pharmacy and the NPSA remains committed to working with the Government to uphold the strict standards of the CSO.

“The NPSA believes in a CSO that is open and fair for all who meet its standards. We also maintain however, that strict govenance of those standards is critical to ensuring that the system can continue to meet its objectives in supporting equitable access to medicines.

“We look forward to continued engagement with the Department of Health over the duration of the new contracts and it is our hope that we can work towards extending the Deeds for as long as possible,” he said.

DHL had recently also signed a deal with Chemist Warehouse to supply their pharmacies.

Click here to read more on the announcement from the Department of Health

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  1. Nick

    Very disappointing to allow DHL to remain exempt from the CSO; we can hardly rely on DHL given their numerous shortcomings in delivery times and hiccups, especially given they supply numerous medications from manufacturers who are often the sole manufacturer of a multitude of incredibly important PBS medicines like Zoladex and a lot of biologicals.

    3-7 business days for an urgent medicine is hardly timely delivery.

  2. Bruce ANNABEL

    This is indeed good news for the supply chain, which has been belted by price cuts during the past 5 or 6 years, and community pharmacy.

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