CBI Scene Blog

The Pharma Distribution Supply Chain: Going Global

Posted by Heather Parker on Apr 23, 2013 11:19:00 AM

pharma distribution

Is revolutionary change on the horizon for the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain?  With the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), pharmaceutical distributors may seek out new supply chain partnerships to alleviate elevated costs incurred by daunting taxes and increased regulations while simultaneously expanding their international reach.

The most notable agreement as of yet: Walgreens, the largest U.S. drugstore & partner, Alliance Boots, the European pharmacy retailer, signed a 10 year contract with AmerisourceBergen.  Labeled by Forbes as the “Earth’s Drugstore,” Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson discussed his feelings surrounding the new global partnership: “This is a chance to create the world’s first truly global pharmacy and health care enterprise.  There’s nothing else out there that can match it.” (New York Times

The agreement will result in one of the largest global drugstore and pharmacy retailers, reaching 12 countries— a major shift in the existing landscape of pharmaceutical distribution.  In a recent interview, Wasson described the expectations as a positive way of moving forward: "Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen are experts in pharmaceutical supply chain distribution... We are very good at it, but the combination of what they both do to improve our supply chain, take that off of our hands, and improve our service levels is really the opportunity that we are excited about.”

So, what does this agreement really mean? For Walgreens, it means leaving behind the days of shouldering responsibility for 80% of its own drug distribution, for not only specialty products, but branded and generic pharmaceuticals as well.  The agreement also allows for both Walgreens and Alliance Boots to purchase a minority equity position in AmerisourceBergen, providing unique and extensive opportunities for all parties involved.

Want to hear more on this ground-breaking partnership? Join us at Alternative Pharma Distribution Strategies, May 22-23, 2013 and enjoy an in-depth discussion with Tony Jackson, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Linear B Exchange on the Walgreen-Alliance Boots-Amerisource Bergen agreement and what it means for the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain. 

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Topics: Distribution and Channel, Patient Access