HDA will be carrying forward the early lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic and supporting response efforts in 2021, writes President and CEO Chip Davis in the January 4 issue of Chain Drug Review — particularly as distributors play a role in the largest public vaccination effort in recent memory. Davis provided his perspective on the year ahead, along with other healthcare trade association leaders, as part of the publication’s 2021 “Pharmacy Outlook” feature.
Since the emergence of COVID-19, HDA distributor members have worked tirelessly to navigate the exceptional and unprecedented demands of this public health emergency. From managing unique inventory demands of the first hotspots, to ensuring access to emerging treatment options and testing, HDA members draw upon their extensive supply and distribution networks, logistics expertise and experience navigating public health emergencies. Moreover, distributors are committed to the public- and private-sector partnerships that are critical in combating COVID-19, fueling our recovery and improving pandemic resiliency for the future.
On October 27, HDA and The Hill brought together policymakers, leaders in the pharmaceutical industry and public health experts to discuss the supply chain’s response during COVID-19. In conversation with Steve Clemons, Editor-in-Chief of The Hill, speakers provided key insights on ensuring the strength and resilience of the pharmaceutical supply chain during this unprecedented crisis. Below are five takeaways from the dialogue.
The emergence of COVID-19 marked the beginning of a public health crisis the scale of which we have never seen. Amid this unprecedented challenge, the pharmaceutical supply chain — powered by distributors — quickly adapted and adjusted to the global pandemic, protecting the steady supply of critical, lifesaving medicines to hospitals, pharmacies, providers and patients.
The successful development of COVID-19 vaccines will mark a groundbreaking step in our fight against the pandemic. However, the massive demand for approved vaccines and therapies as they come to market will require extensive coordination across the pharmaceutical supply chain and with the public sector.
Industry and service providers continue to work to implement the Drug Supply Chain Security Act’s (DSCSA) serialized saleable return milestone. With the end of FDA-granted enforcement discretion ending on November 27, 2020, and the industry simultaneously responding to COVID-19, it is all hands on deck to reach the compliance finish line.
As the fight against the coronavirus pandemic continues, the successful development of effective COVID-19 vaccines will represent a pivotal moment in our country’s efforts to end this public health crisis. However, the discovery of a vaccine is just the first step of many to ensure these critical medicines are widely accessible to providers and their patients.
The COVID-19 public health crisis has highlighted access and affordability challenges for underserved communities. At the same time, spiking employment has left millions of patients throughout the country without health insurance previously provided by their employer.
Since 2006, thousands of uninsured and underinsured patients in Cincinnati, Ohio, and neighboring communities have been able to fill their critically needed medications at no charge through the St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy. By filling prescriptions with no out-of-pocket cost for patients, the charitable pharmacy is committed to providing care for individuals who need it most.