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AZ dumps direct distribution

Posted 12 September 2019

AstraZeneca will change its distribution model from direct with DHL back to wholesalers in "response to feedback from numerous community pharmacists".

From 1 October, community pharmacists will continue to be able to order from their preferred wholesaler, but after a transition period will no longer be able to order from DHL.

"Everyone asked for choice, a reliable, easy way to order and access all our medicines, and this updated distribution model will address your requirements," AZ said in a statement.

It comes less than two years after AZ's agreement to move 14 of its medicines to an exclusive direct distribution arrangement with DHL was put in place in late 2017.

The company foreshadowed the move away from this model back in December when it announced it was abandoning the exclusive arrangement and allowing a hybrid model with both DHL and wholesalers.

Symbion welcomes decision

Brett Barons, CEO of wholesaler Symbion called the decision a "clear indication from our customers that they don't like exclusive-direct supply of medicines"

"Exclusive-direct supply arrangements add an unnecessary layer of administrative complexity for pharmacists and offer no protection for patients because there are no service standards," he said.

"It's pleasing that AstraZeneca has listened to this feedback from community pharmacists because these decisions ultimately impact on their ability to meet the expectations of their patients.

"AstraZeneca's decision once again reinforces our view that CSO wholesaling is the most effective and efficient framework for ensuring that all Australians have timely and affordable access to PBS medicines through their local community pharmacy."

AZ said Arrow Pharmaceuticals would be the authorised reseller and would be providing support to pharmacists during the transition. 

Alexandra Vanags


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