Medicine wholesalers to co-operate on access to pharmaceutical products

The ACCC has granted interim authorisation for pharmaceutical wholesalers to co-operate in facilitating distribution of essential medication and pharmacy products.

This follows an application by the National Pharmaceutical Services Association (NPSA) to enable businesses to co-ordinate the supply, inventory management, distribution, logistics, and import of pharmaceuticals needed by consumers and hospitals.

“Allowing pharmacy wholesalers to work together to help make vital medicines accessible to everyone during this pandemic is clearly in the national interest,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“I also urge 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 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.

“We have approved this interim authorisation as a matter of urgency given the challenges to the health and medical system from this unprecedented pandemic,” Mr Sims said.

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.