NPSA head talks potential DHL entry to CSO

Sigma and NPSA’s Mark Hooper has said he hopes for a swift resolution of the API/Sigma merger, and addressed the potential for DHL to enter the CSO

Mr Hooper, president of the National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) and CEO and managing director of Sigma, was speaking at a panel session on the state of the industry at the APP conference on the Gold Coast.

He outlined changes in the sector including the significant jump in volume of units shipped, and investments wholesalers have made to reflect this.

“We’re not against change per se… but change needs to make a difference. There needs to be better patient outcomes or there needs to be some other return that actually comes from the change… so the CSO is always open for anyone who wants to apply for it.

“There’s speculation about DHL potentially coming into the CSO… that’s fine, we can’t be against competition. 

“But we do expect any new entrant into the CSO to meet the same standards as everyone else.

“You can’t hold your hand out for more money just because you’re in the CSO. The pool is the pool.

“It’s very important that the standards are maintained because that structural certainty is what ensures that patients ultimately get their medicines.”

Mr Hooper said he has heard DHL say publicly that it feels it already meets the standards, “so if they want to come into the pool, that should be a relatively straightforward thing. That’s all we’ve ever asked for… if a new entrant comes into the CSO, we can’t be afraid of competition, but you’ve got to be held accountable to the same standards”.

He also discussed the API/Sigma proposed merger, which he said has been a subject of ongoing discussion between the two wholesalers for several months.

“I think everyone, ourselves included, gets the rationale about… sometimes there needs to be industry rationalisation. And I guess the other lens I have to apply to that is it needs to make sense for Sigma shareholders and Sigma customers.

“Hopefully it will be resolved one way or another in the not too distant future so we can all get on with life.”

He wouldn’t be drawn, however, when asked whether a bigger organisation resulting from the proposed merger would be an improvement for customers.

“Bigger has some things that are better and some things that are not so good in all circumstances.”

“There’s never a dull day in wholesaling, or in Sigma,” he said.

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