Australian medicine wholesalers have been granted permission to share the distribution of essential medication and pharmacy products.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) granted interim authorisation to enable businesses to co-ordinate the supply, inventory management, distribution, logistics, and import of pharmaceuticals needed by consumers and hospitals.
The approval follows the application by the National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) to allow medicine wholesalers to work together during this unprecedented pandemic
Rod Sims, ACCC chair said the organisation have approved this interim authorisation as a matter of urgency given the challenges to the health and medical system.
“Allowing pharmacy wholesalers to work together to help make vital medicines accessible to everyone during this pandemic is clearly in the national interest,” he said.
NSW manufacturers are looking at ways to help the pharmaceutical industry by converting production lines into making supplies that are running short.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the world was running short on hand sanitiser, handwash soap, gloves, cleaning products, protective clothing, masks, eyewear and paper products.
Local alcohol makers are already converting to produce items such as hand sanitiser, while other firms have switched to face masks, providing much-needed equipment while keeping their business going and safeguarding jobs.
With supply of Personal Protective Equipment and disinfectant expected to be constrained for at least 12 months, further opportunities exist for other NSW companies to join them.
The co-ordination by pharmaceutical wholesalers will be subject to oversight from government and other regulatory bodies. Price fixing behaviour is not authorised, and the ACCC can review the authorisation at any time.
Rod said he is urging consumers not to buy more medicines than they require, in order to ease supply restrictions for other patients and enable fair distribution to all Australians.
The ACCC will now seek feedback on the interim authorisation, as well as the application for final authorisation which is sought for a period of 12 months.