The British Independent Pharmacy and Wholesale Association represents pharmacies and wholesalers together as they are both involved in the medicines supply chain which is vital for the protection of patients. The body is unique in this respect as many pharmacies are now routinely exporting and importing medicines into and out of the UK.
The restrictions on the availability of medicines (supply chain) which are only prevalent in the UK and not in the EU covers many aspects of law and the supply interruption affects wholesalers, pharmacies and patients alike. The National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA) represents pharmacies and the British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers represents the 'interests' of the pharmaceutical industry, including the three largest pharmaceutical wholesalers in the UK.
The shortages of drugs in the UK have increased over the last two years despite the efforts of the Department of Health Supply Chain Group. The reasons for the shortage cover public law issues, the Medicines Act 1968, Competition Act 1998 and European Competition law and as such no public regulatory body is able to act or has understood how to act to resolve this matter. The public perception of the issue is that wholesalers and unscrupulous pharmacists exporting medicines are to blame. Newspaper article upon article has been written attributing fault to the wholesalers and pharmacies with little in response to allow reasoned debate.
The purpose of BIPWA is to ensure our members and the sector we represent exceed the regulatory and safety demands of the supply chain and that they continue to conduct business that adds value to the UK health economy.