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April 2020 - Newsletter #4

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NorthWestPharmacy.com

Coronavirus Crisis Affects the Pharmaceutical Supply and How this Affects You


What is Causing the Disruption in the Worldwide Supply of Prescription Drugs?

People worldwide have stocked up on the prescription drugs they might need to ride out any supply disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic. Drug distributors in most countries had little opportunity to prepare for this increased demand on stock so there are currently disruptions in the prescription drug supply chain, and more so for drugs that are in high demand. As a result, wholesalers and manufacturers everywhere are rationing orders from pharmacies to help ensure there is supply for everyone.

Drug supply shortages appear to be affecting pharmacies in the United States as well. One of the largest pharmaceutical wholesalers in the United States recently confirmed, "we are experiencing backorders and declining inventory levels at rates never experienced before," as reported in a recent CNBC article.

The Immediate-Term - Inventories Right Now

Our NorthWestPharmacy.com team has been leveraging its global network of trusted suppliers and has been working around the clock to obtain new inventory. These continuing efforts have been quite successful. Over the last two weeks and at this time, we are shipping 87% of orders within seven days and 95% of orders within 10 days of the order being placed and a prescription being received. While this might be very good under the current unprecedented circumstances, it is far from ordinary circumstances under which we typically ship more than 98% of orders within three days.

Please be mindful, however, that just because an item has shipped, it does not mean the normal transit times for delivery are applicable. While a first step in being able to ship an order means we must have inventory of the item on hand, there are other factors impacting the ultimate delivery time and these are affecting a significant number of orders once they leave the pharmacy. We urge you to read our latest advisory notice on this for much more detail.

It is also important to be aware that the rate at which we are acquiring inventory today may not be the rate we are able to acquire it at later and we cannot know at this time when the next set of product lines will become more difficult to acquire or whether some go out of stock entirely or for how long.

The Short to Medium-Term - Will the Drug Supply Return to Normal?

Most of the inventory we are currently acquiring was manufactured prior to the coronavirus crisis or is being manufactured from raw materials stocked by drug makers prior to the crisis beginning. We believe the same is true of the current supply of prescription medicines being acquired by consumers everywhere in the world since most drug manufacturing worldwide came to a halt over the past several weeks.

To those involved in the pharmaceutical distribution system, it is common knowledge that the majority of the active pharmaceutical ingredients or various other components used to produce finished dosages in the entire worldwide prescription drug supply chain, including the drugs sold in the United States, come from China and India, where the coronavirus has had a significant impact on factory production to date.

"Most companies [drug makers] feel that they are relatively well positioned to weather short-term disruption. This is because many publicly traded companies have six months to a year of stockpiles; however, if restrictions continue for an extended period of time, especially if people in China cannot get back into the factories to work, eventually supply chain shortages will start to disrupt everyone", says J.P. Duffy, a partner at law firm, Reed Smith, in a recent interview published in the European Pharmaceutical Review.

We are hopeful that factory production will resume in these countries quickly, however, India has extended their countrywide lockdown and China may be at the cusp of experiencing a second wave of infections which could restrain factory output. "The US is the largest consumer of pharmaceutical products, accounting for somewhere between 45 and 50 percent of the market. We import more than half of our APIs and finished products. Therefore, it seems logical to think that if disruption in India and China goes on for an extended period of time, it will have to impact the US, as it will the rest of the world", Mr. Duffy tells the European Pharmaceutical Review.

Those concerns appear to be validated by the preliminary findings of a study of the US medication supply chain, revealed last month by the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). CIDRAP stated it believes that "COVID-19 will likely lead to a shortage of drugs in the U.S." They also noted that, "80% of the drugs marketed in the United States, including 19 of the 20 top-selling brand name ones, are made overseas."

To complicate things further, the recent ban implemented by some governments on the export of certain drugs in order to maintain pharmaceutical supplies for their own populations could lead to additional export prohibitions.

There is No Crystal Ball

We have considerable experience when it comes to acquiring affordable pharmaceuticals from safe and reliable sources in order to deliver you the vital prescription drugs we know that you need. But ultimately, we don’t have a crystal ball as to when the factory production of drugs and their raw materials will resume at full capacity and when supply chains will normalize. Much of that will depend on the progression of the novel coronavirus.

The discussion above represents concerns about drug supply chain dynamics during a time of halting production, accelerated demand and reduced logistics/transport capacity worldwide. It may all seem overwhelming but there is some positive news. Despite the disruption to the international pharmaceutical supply chain, the increasing costs to acquire inventory, the challenges in securing the limited air cargo space for transport, the longer times for customs clearance and last-mile delivery, reconfiguring our call center to operate remotely through employee homes and even the lockdowns of entire nations through which we source products from, NorthWestPharmacy.com has been taking, processing and delivering affordable prescription drugs throughout the entire coronavirus crisis. That's what we did before the crisis began, that’s what we're doing now and that’s what we intend to do after the crisis is over. Our global reach and robust supply network mean that you’re in the best hands you can possibly be in when you need safe and affordable prescription drugs delivered to your door.

Safety First

Drug shortages caused by the novel coronavirus have fueled a surge in counterfeit drugs. Nevertheless, you can be assured that NorthWestPharmacy.com will never have its customer orders fulfilled outside of its licensed, vetted and trusted suppliers. This is to continue to ensure the safety and authenticity of products you receive through us. If that means there is a delay in the shipping of orders, then it is something for which there is no workaround. NorthWestPharmacy.com puts safety above expediency.

Your Orders with NorthWestPharmacy.com

All of this, and the various challenges we continue to overcome during the crisis, takes additional time and makes exceptional demands upon our various personnel. We are incredibly proud of our personnel who have continued to make our customers and our operations among their top priorities during a time when they are also worried about their own families. In light of all this, we sincerely appreciate your utmost patience and understanding if your order is delivered later than it otherwise would have been.

We encourage customers to who may need medications in the coming months to place their orders now and those whose pending orders await shipping to keep their orders active and in the queue, which ensures they are locked in at the original price quoted at the time of placing the order. That’s beneficial to you because we’ve absorbed most of the coronavirus-related increases in product acquisition costs that we’ve faced to date but may be unable to do so for much longer. Also, the limited pharmaceutical supply, available cargo space for transport and customs clearances will all be allocated to customers on a first-come-first-served basis and it may be quite some time before worldwide drug supply and delivery systems return to normal. Until such time, orders are no longer being billed at the time they are placed. We will hold your billing information but you won't be billed until your order is dispensed by our pharmacists and ready to be shipped. But, if for any reason you are unable to wait, you can cancel and you won’t be billed for any item that has not been shipped.

NorthWestPharmacy.com is one of the largest and most established online pharmacies providing lower cost medications from abroad to customers worldwide. No competitor offering lower cost pharmaceuticals from abroad can match our supply and delivery capacity during this difficult time so please rest assured we are leveraging all our capacity to ensure orders reach customers as fast as possible in the circumstances.

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