Pharmaceutical Distribution Networks: What Is Their Role in Patient Safety?

AUGUST 08, 2017
Marina Reed
Pharmaceutical distribution networks play an important role in patient safety, especially as rules continue to evolve on sterile pharmaceutical distribution, according to a senior official who spoke on this issue recently with

Erin Horvath, who is senior vice president of distribution services for AmerisourceBergen, noted that many pharmaceutical manufacturers have questions regarding recent changes related to sterile distribution of products, and she said that AmerisourceBergen is poised to tackle these challenges.

“We can say that we are the best in class in terms of being able to prepare for traceability and the serialization laws that are coming into play,” Horvath said.

A key factor in addressing these traceability issues, Horvath said, has been the continuous improvement program, implemented 2 years ago at AmerisourceBergen and developed with the goal to enhance customer experience.  Horvath explained that an important part of success when implementing the program was empowering and collaborating with the associates of AmerisourceBergen by focusing on the shipping tools, the receivers, and database maintenance of the entire operation, to facilitate process improvements. In bringing together professionals from across the organization to collaborate on continuous improvement, AmerisourceBergen ensures it is creating a comprehensive experience for customers, she said.

The continuous improvement team is comprised of members from each branch of the organization, from health system sales, to inventory, out to the customer level. And those ‘best in class’ services start with an investment in the associates. The program managers work side-by-side with the associates, building a patient-minded culture, to drive change through training and coaching.

Keeping the patient at the core of everything they do inspires AmerisourceBergen to continue to make significant investments in improving quality and inspires associates to do their best every day, Horvath said. In the last 6 months, after receiving feedback from pharmacies, AmerisourceBergen has been launching the program in their service centers, focusing on cash flow, and streamlining the returns process.

“We recognize that as simple and as straightforward we can make the process to our customers, the more time they can dedicate to patient care,” Horvath said in an interview at ThoughtSpot 2017.  

It’s with a focus on understanding customers holistically and how they operate day-to-day that AmerisourceBergen continues to unlock value within customer’s business so they can better serve patients, she said.