Press Release

Pharmaceutical Groups Share Keys to Supply Chain Security

PhRMA January 31, 2013

Washington, D.C. (January 30, 2013) The100th meeting of the National Conference of Pharmaceutical Organizations (NCPO) resolved that the member organizations will work together to help further secure the pharmaceutical supply chain.

“Supply chain issues go to the very safety of the medicines that all Americans rely on for the health of their families,” said John Castellani, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and chair of the NCPO meeting.  “It is our responsibility to do everything we can together so that patients and their families know that the medicines they take are safe.”

The NCPO discussions on pharmaceutical supply chain security centered around three areas: product tracing, Internet sales, and disposal of unused medicines. The NCPO organizations agreed to key principles in each area. 

“Pharmacists are taught that medication safety is their highest professional priority. The integrity of the distribution system is essential in the fulfillment of this mission,” said Lucinda Maine, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

“Medications are powerful, but those medications only work when their safety is assured and they are taken properly,” stated Thomas Menighan, CEO and Executive Vice President, American Pharmacists Association (APhA). “The entire health care community must work together as a team to ensure the security of the pharmaceutical supply chain to continue the good health and safety of our nation.”

NCPO recommended that an electronic system to trace prescription drugs in the supply chain must be uniform, apply nationally, and be based on internationally harmonized standards.  Further, any new requirement for product tracing must be implemented in a scalable, cost-effective manner.

Unlawful sales of medicines over the Internet is a growing concern.  NCPO leaders pledged that they would continue to work together to educate policy makers and the public about the dangers of purchasing medicine over the internet and seek appropriate policy solutions.

Finally, the NCPO leaders pledged to work together on appropriate disposal of unused medicines.  Any disposal option must not create new opportunities for diversion of unused medicines to reenter the supply chain and rely on pilot studies.

This is the first time in the 100 year history of the organization that the leaders agreed to address important issues in the pharmaceutical supply chain.  The full set of recommendations can be found here.

NCPO was founded in 1912 and consists of 11 organizations.  The organizations are:

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

About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested over $500 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $49.5 billion in 2011 alone.

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