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Healthcare Distribution: Rain, Snow or Shine


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Pharmaceutical distributors deliver millions of medicines and healthcare products to providers nationwide — rain, snow or shine. Every day, hundreds of thousands of patients across the country depend on the uninterrupted delivery of prescription medicines, and pharmaceutical distributors work around the clock to ensure these products get to where they need to be, safely and efficiently. As winter marches on, with snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures in parts of the country, HDA member companies rise to the challenge of making sure vital medicines reach the people who need them, no matter what it takes.

Preparing for the Worst

In advance of weather emergencies, pharmaceutical distributors are already working to minimize service disruptions for pharmacy, hospital and long-term care facility customers, among others, by:

  • Increasing medication and healthcare product inventory in anticipation of emergency needs;
  • Identifying navigable routes in anticipation of inaccessibility issues;
  • Providing advanced ordering options and inventory consultation for local pharmacies;
  • Ramping up capacity at alternative distribution centers;
  • Delivering storm supplies ahead of time (including backup generators and fuel), as well as high-demand supplies (like linens, food and water); and,
  • Collaborating with supply chain partners, including manufacturers and other distributors, on comprehensive emergency response plans.

Weathering the Storm

As logistics experts, distributors constantly track and anticipate weather disruptions, adjusting to rapidly changing situations on the ground to ensure that medicines are delivered quickly and safely to affected communities. Even as a storm rages on, distributors implement recovery strategies at distribution centers and in the community, including:

  • Procuring backup modes of transportation for deliveries when roads are not accessible;
  • Collaborating with manufacturers to redirect products as needed;
  • Connecting with local government agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies to coordinate relief efforts; and,
  • Reporting and sharing information with Rx Open, a database established by Healthcare Ready to help patients find open pharmacies in areas impacted by a natural disaster. (HDA is a founding member of Healthcare Ready.)

Click here to learn more about how pharmaceutical distributors go above and beyond to deliver medicines every day — even during challenging times.


The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, safely and efficiently. The HDA Research Foundation, HDA’s nonprofit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.


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