Minding the gaps

Minding the gaps

Copyright 2003, Traffic World, Inc.

The Healthcare Distribution Management Association says better communication among trading partners in the pharmaceutical supply chain can alleviate chronic shortages. The association issued a set of voluntary guidelines to improve the information flows.

The guidelines spell out the links between everyone from government regulators to patients and the many supply-chain stakeholders in between and set common terms and recommendations for the timing of reports on drug inventories and delivery status.

According to the HDMA, shortages that may be preventable occur when breakdowns in some part of the chain, such as production, are not communicated further down the distribution path.

The guidelines, "Ensuring Product Availability - a Recommended Voluntary Industry Guideline," were developed by the HDMA Drug Availability Task Force. The task force said that by following the guidelines, links in the supply chain will be better equipped to manage inventory, allocate products in short supply and prevent shortages except in unforeseeable cases.

The guidelines include recommendations on product shortage management, product shortage communications, shortage allocation best practices, year-end inventory management best practices, and timing recommendations for shortage communications.