InBrief: Pharma Supply Chain Community Calls For Solutions To Security Problems

NCPO logoAt their 100th annual meeting this week, the National Conference of Pharmaceutical Organizations (NCPO) resolved that their member organizations will work together to help further secure the pharmaceutical supply chain.  The 101 year old organization is composed of major pharmaceutical industry associations from each primary segment:

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American Pharmacists Association
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Biotechnology Industry Organization
Consumer Healthcare Products Association
Generic Pharmaceutical Association
Healthcare Distribution and Management Association
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
National Community Pharmacists Association
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

In a background document attached to a press release, the three supply chain security issues that the umbrella organization agreed to work on are:

  • Product Tracing
    Recommending “…the adoption of electronic systems to trace prescription drugs in the supply chain” with the following characteristics:“1.  Uniform
    2.  Apply nationally
    3.  Be based on internationally harmonized standards”In addition, “Any new requirement on supply chain stakeholders must be implemented in a scalable and cost-effective manner, and be based on appropriate pilot studies and other preparatory work.
  • Internet Sales of Product
    The members agreed “
    to continue to work together to educate policy makers and the public about these dangers, and to seek appropriate policy solutions.
  • Disposal of Unused Medicines
    The members agreed “
    to continue to actively work with all relevant stakeholders to educate them on the appropriate use of medicines with the goal of helping to prevent abuse and misuse and promote safe disposal.

All three of these supply chain security issues have received increasing attention by policymakers from the national level down to the local city level in recent years.  In them I think the members of the NCPO are grappling with the fact that local and state governments have decided not to wait for the federal government to address these growing problems and are enacting their own laws and regulations.

These are examples of national problems that demand national solutions.  NCPO acknowledges the work of Senators Bennet (D‐CO) and Burr (R‐NC) who worked together to introduce bi-partisan track & trace legislation last summer, but which failed to be enacted.

It’s hard to blame the local and state governments for trying to do something to stem these issues–after all, they are on the front-lines–but industry costs will skyrocket if every municipality and state adopts differing pharmaceutical supply chain regulations.

Hopefully this new resolution by the NCPO will help to drive the national discussion and propel action.