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NPSA secures ACCC authorisation for potential role in COVID-19 vaccines rollout


• Ongoing authorisation granted for medicine supply management through reliable wholesaler network

The National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) has welcomed a decision by the ACCC which will facilitate discussions with the federal government for potential involvement of member companies in the national COVID-19 vaccines rollout.

The ACCC has extended existing authorisation allowing NPSA members – Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API), National Pharmacies, Sigma Healthcare and Symbion – to continue to co-operate to ensure uninterrupted, equitable and timely distribution of medicines and pharmacy products during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, the ACCC has granted new interim authorisation allowing discussions on distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines by the wholesaler network, to both meet demand and ensure the most efficient system for patient access to available vaccines with minimal wastage.

NPSA Chair Richard Vincent said, “The CSO wholesalers are very proud that our dedicated medicines logistics expertise that has supported Australians throughout the pandemic has been recognised in this most recent ACCC decision. With our highly reliable storage and distribution infrastructure we remain ready to step in and help manage and futureproof the COVID-19 vaccines rollout.

“Rapid deployment of high-volume cold chain logistics into multiple pharmacy and hospital distribution points is our core business. We do this every day for 5,700 community pharmacies with more than 300 million PBS medicines, vaccines and pharmacy products each year.

“Pharmacies have shown they are critical to lifting the vaccination rates to protect Australians and restart the economy. It makes good sense to bring the CSO wholesalers into the rollout to increase efficiency and crucially to prevent wastage of available vaccines. Our proven daily delivery model as CSO wholesalers safeguards the supply of medicines and vaccines and ensures the right medicines and vaccines are distributed to the right location at the right time.

“We thank the ACCC for its consideration of our application and look forward to continuing to contribute to maximise the effectiveness of the Government’s response for all medicines including the COVID-19 vaccines.”

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