Pharmacists and Patients Speak to the Importance of Pharmaceutical Distributors & Pharmaceutical Supply Chain During COVID-19 Pandemic

Jul 21, 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the AmerisourceBergen Government Affairs & Policy (ABC GA&P) team has closely monitored several state legislative measures with impact to ABC, pharmacies, physician practices, hospitals, veterinary practices and patients.  Examples of some of the state legislative measures our team continues to monitor and engage in across the country include:

Measures to provide economic relief to community health care providers who qualify as small businesses (e.g. community pharmacists, veterinarians and physicians)

  • Easing existing state barriers and restrictions for pharmacists to source, administer, interpret and be reimbursed for COVID-19 and serology tests as well as the ability to administer COVID-19 vaccine once available;  
  • Expressing our concerns regarding mandatory state reporting and seizure of pharmaceutical products and personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Preventing taxes or fees on prescription medicine from advancing;
  • Ensuring wholesaler designation as an essential business in Governors’ Executive Orders;  
  • Monitoring and complying with State Boards of Pharmacy licensure extensions and exemptions for use of emergency facilities; and
  • Advocating to ease restrictions on and expand use of telehealth provisions.

A number of media outlets have published pieces in recent weeks highlighting the vital role wholesalers and pharmacies have played in response to COVID-19.  Below is a summary of some of these editorials.

ME: Colombia Falls, ME resident, Violet Grant in her Letter to the Editor at The Ellsworth American Publication speaks to her experience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as a senior living in a rural community. While her new way of living has presented challenges, she cites how doctors have adopted the use of telemedicine taking much of the burden off her shoulders to ensure her healthcare needs are met. She also commends manufacturers, distributors and pharmacists for their flexibility and adapting to this new normal. Roy Grice of Cumberland, ME, a senior with asthma shares in this Op-Ed within the Bangor Daily News how the healthcare supply chain has been able to work on overdrive to distribute and deliver the critical medications people like him require on a daily basis during the pandemic.

MT: A published piece in Montana notes that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers have successfully collaborated with wholesalers to “anticipate potential shortages and allocate resources effectively” and effectively flattened the curve in the state. In addition, the article calls for the continued support of distributors and other healthcare supply chain participants as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.

NJ: Representatives from various New Jersey business groups and pharmacy associations collectively sent a letter to Governor Murphy asking him to refrain from adding an opioid tax against manufactures in his fiscal year 2021 upcoming budget proposal at the end of August.  Specifically, this coalition of groups is asking Gov. Murphy to reconsider tax given that opiates are currently being used widely to relieve pain for the numerous patients intubated as a result of COVID-19 treatment.

NY: New York pharmacist and former state lawmaker, Daniel J. Burling, shares his viewpoints on the continued vitality and strong partnership between pharmacies and the healthcare supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic in this Op-Ed published in the Warsaw County Courier. Burling mentions how maneuvering the delicately woven web between pharmaceutical makers and distributors and their relationships with pharmacies and medical practices proved to be key in New York successfully reducing Coronavirus cases. Further, he states the continued partnership between state government and each piece of the medical supply chain will allow New York to continue its path to a full recovery.

WI: A recent letter to the editor published in a WI recognizes distributors’ critical “behind the scenes” work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The author works in the insurance industry, and was a past candidate for the WI Assembly (R).