Jeremy Main, Managing Director of Alliance Healthcare UK and Chair of the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA), shares his vision of a united healthcare industry – working as one integrated supply chain, from manufacturer to patient.
"It often occurs to me that we talk a lot about individual sectors within healthcare and the problems and challenges each faces, but very rarely take a “holistic view” and discuss the industry as a whole. With the recent cuts to pharmacy funding, retail pharmacy is firmly in the spotlight and rightly so. But with every part of the industry keen to voice their own concerns, the bigger issues often get lost in the noise.
"I believe it’s important to take a wider view as there are so many interdependencies in developing, manufacturing, distributing and dispensing medicines. We all have numerous stakeholders and significant areas of mutual interest and we’re all linked in so many ways. I feel just focussing our attention on one issue limits the opportunity to think more broadly and find the best solutions in a significantly changing and challenging healthcare landscape.
"One rapidly evolving area which would certainly benefit from a more holistic approach is the healthcare distribution sector. With significant challenges such as the impending Falsified Medicines Directive, closer integration and better collaboration across all industry stakeholders is paramount.
"As wholesalers, we provide exceptional levels of service and fund billions of pounds in stock. But our contribution to the industry isn’t recognised – without it the system would very likely be more expensive and inefficient. It’s the same as a pharma company not developing exciting new drugs or pharmacists not delivering outstanding patient care.
"As an industry, we create thousands of jobs and contribute an enormous amount to the economy. But, industries must adapt and evolve, and healthcare is no exception. At Alliance Healthcare, our aim is to take a progressive approach and both anticipate and instigate change within the healthcare industry as a whole. We’ll continue to innovate and utilise our assets to drive a fully inclusive approach to healthcare which aspires to add real value for our partners and customers.
"We all operate together within a tough environment, governed by NHS budget constraints and regulation. To improve the health and happiness of customers and patients requires us to work both cohesively and with an understanding of all the different interdependencies to help each other perform and optimise patient care.
"All stakeholders within the supply chain have had to evolve their businesses to provide additional value added services beyond the core service.
"The recently re-branded Healthcare Distributors Association is keen to promote that wholesaling is no longer simply about moving boxes, any more than community pharmacy is simply about dispensing medicines. At Alliance Healthcare, we have evolved our range of services to provide an end to end supply chain solution from production through to patient.
"Significant challenges lie ahead, but I am confident that by working cohesively with a united mindset, we’ll be able to meet them together. I often envisage having a forum involving industry stakeholders debating, discussing and generating collaborative ideas. Let’s get together!
"To thrive as an industry, we need to understand the value of each other’s businesses much better. You never know, occasionally stepping back and looking at the big picture just might generate some great ideas and great opportunities.
"Let’s not lose sight of just how important we all are in this industry – manufacturers, wholesale, dispensing doctors and pharmacy. All of us together, all of our people, all of our teams."