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Pfizer Strengthens Partnerships with Community Pharmacy

Friday, December 3, 2010

Announces new pharmacy field force, sole distribution and an expanded customer service team

Pfizer Australia has today announced plans to strengthen its relationships with community pharmacy by establishing a dedicated pharmacy field force, expanding its customer service team and distributing its prescription medicines directly to community pharmacies.

From 31 January 2011 Pfizer will no longer be selling its prescription medicines for community pharmacies to wholesalers. Community pharmacy will be able to purchase all their Pfizer prescription medicines directly from Pfizer.

This is a result of Pfizer closely examining its business model to meet some of the challenges in the healthcare environment including Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) reform and the upcoming patent expiry of a number of Pfizer medicines.

"In order to develop stronger partnerships with pharmacists and better adapt to the changing environment, we have decided that a dedicated field force with specific pharmacy experience and a direct distribution model for all our prescription medicines sold into community pharmacy are critical ," explained Pfizer Australia Managing Director, Mr John Latham.

According to Mr Mark Crotty, Established Products Business Unit General Manager, having a partnership with pharmacists will allow us to better service their needs and provide us with a better opportunity to promote our increased range of generic and off patent medicines effectively.

The newly established pharmacy field force will be in place from the beginning of December when they will begin visiting pharmacists to explain the new business model, how to sign up for an account with Pfizer and answer any questions they may have before the new model goes live on 31 January 2011.

DHL has been appointed the sole logistics service provider to undertake this distribution to community pharmacies. "DHL has been servicing Pfizer Australia for over ten years. For the past three years they have been the logistics service provider for Pfizer's current distribution arm, Pfizer Direct. We are very pleased with how they've continued to meet our high standards of delivery requirements around Australia, from metropolitan to rural and remote pharmacies," explained Mr Crotty.

Neither Pfizer nor DHL will be pursuing a share of the Community Service Obligation (CSO) funding pool for Pfizer products.

Pfizer has consulted with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia about the new business model and the Guild has noted key elements it deems important in terms of continuity of patient supply of PBS medicines and impact on its members.

Briefing sessions for pharmacists have been organised to ensure implementation of the new arrangements is as smooth as possible.

"There will be no change for patients using Pfizer medicines as they will continue to get their prescription medicines from their pharmacy as they do today. We guarantee patients will continue to get high quality Pfizer medicines as we will be responsible for our medicines from when they leave the manufacturing facility until they reach pharmacy," added Mr Latham.

Pfizer's decision to go direct only impacts prescription medicines sold into community pharmacy. Pfizer products sold into hospitals, as well as our range of consumer healthcare and nutritional products will continue to be distributed as they are today.