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March 2020 - Newsletter #7

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NorthWestPharmacy.com

Coronavirus: The Prescription Drug Supply Chain, Order Delivery Times, Customer Service and Other Updates

We take very seriously our job to do all we can to ensure that you have affordable access to prescription drugs when ordering through NorthWestPharmacy.com so we urge you to read the latest updates below. They are not the same as in our previous newsletter so the previous guidance has been amended below to reflect the situation as of today.

The short of it is that we are currently taking, processing and delivering orders but a number of factors are impacting supply chains and delivery systems worldwide in just about every industry on the planet due to the coronavirus and NorthWestPharmacy.com is no exception.

The delivery of medications from abroad to customers is likely to be affected by disruptions in the prescription drug supply chain, limited air cargo transport capacity, customs clearance delays in destination countries and the ability of postal agencies to have carriers deliver to customer locations once packages have cleared customs. This does not mean that all or any of the above will necessarily affect the delivery of your order but a very significant number of orders are expected to experience delayed delivery due to one or more of the above conditions.

We caution that there are online pharmacy operators who are not being forthright and transparent with their customers about the extended delivery times during the coronavirus crisis and are providing unrealistically optimistic forecasts about delivery times. But 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 that we are leveraging all our capacity to make sure orders reach customers as fast as possible in the circumstances.

We apologize for the length of this notice but we believe our valued customers deserve to be presented with a detailed account of the situation, and that is provided below.

The Prescription Drug Supply Chain

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, especially at the wholesaler level for certain drugs that are in high demand. The good news is that stock of various products is being supplied to us for now, albeit at a much slower rate than normal, as wholesalers and manufacturers are rationing orders from pharmacies to help ensure there is supply for everyone. But we are working tirelessly to secure additional stock for distribution as quickly as we can. (Delivering that stock to patients in need is a separate challenge we face and that is discussed further below.)

Additionally, the vast majority of the active pharmaceutical ingredients or their components used to produce finished dosages in the entire worldwide prescription drug supply chain, including the drugs sold in the United States, are manufactured in China, where the coronavirus has had the most impact on factory production to date. There are reports that Chinese manufacturing capacity is resuming so we are cautiously optimistic, but the situation remains far from certain at this time. Further complicating things is that some countries, including those our suppliers source products from, have begun to ban the export of at least certain pharmaceuticals in an effort to preserve supplies for their local populations or have locked down their entire countries for several weeks, which may exacerbate supply issues in the near future.

These supply issues are resulting in our paying higher product acquisition costs, which we have continued to absorb since the coronavirus crisis began. But we do not anticipate being able to absorb the further price increases that we may face in procuring prescription drugs through our trusted supply channels. We apologize in advance for any forthcoming price increases you may observe. We hope they will be temporary.

Order Delivery Times

NorthWestPharmacy.com orders are mostly delivered by air in the cargo areas of passenger planes but passenger flights have been canceled on a massive scale worldwide. Our NorthWestPharmacy.com Team has been working around the clock with suppliers and delivery systems to reserve the limited available air cargo space so our customers' orders can be delivered as quickly as possible. There is often a long queue that packages remain in before they are onboarded to flights, which is another factor that is causing a delay in our normal delivery times. The cost of transporting shipments has soared due to the competition for this limited cargo space which has forced us to temporarily increase our shipping fee. We also understand that there are extended customs clearance times at various ports of entry as customs officials are backlogged.

Adding to the delay is that a number of our facilities which dispense your medicines, are in areas that are under a complete or virtually complete lockdown in terms of the movement of people and that makes it difficult or impossible for employees to attend work and process customer orders in those locations. Again, we are working day and night to have alternate facilities within our trusted supply network take on the load as we re-route orders to them. While this has put a strain on them during these incredibly trying times, they are doing an outstanding job in having orders filled and shipped. You can be assured that NorthWestPharmacy.com will not permit its customer orders to be 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 an extended delay in the delivery of orders, then it is something for which there is no workaround. NorthWestPharmacy.com puts safety above expediency.

All of this 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 that there is a real possibility of a significant delay in receiving orders which we estimate may be several weeks and even up to four months after they have been placed. We hope it will not take that long but want to provide you with an estimated worst-case timeline.

We encourage customers 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. (See more on this below.)

The NorthWestPharmacy.com Call Center Operations

The Province of British Columbia, Canada, where our call center is located, has declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus. This is expected to impact our operations very shortly but we will do all we can to continue to serve you while maintaining the health and safety of the entire NorthWestPharmacy.com Team.

That's why NorthWestPharmacy.com has completed live testing a dispersed remote call center through employee homes. The NorthWestPharmacy.com remote call center is now fully operational.

If our physical call center is required to close, however, there will be less Patient Care Specialists manning the phones than normal and hold times may be much longer than customers are accustomed to. Rest assured, pharmacist counseling will continue, though there could be delays in speaking with a pharmacist depending on how events related to the coronavirus unfold in the coming days.

While our call center is open to serve you, hold times are currently much longer than normal during these exceptional circumstances. We encourage all customers who are able, to send queries by email and place orders online to help free up call center resources for those who are not able to email or order online. At this time, we request that customers do not call our call center with delivery related queries as our call center is backlogged and trying to prioritize urgent orders from elderly patients who do not have internet access. The short answer is, there are delivery delays which we are doing all we can to address and we are unable to provide details beyond what is already provided here at this time. This is what our call is center telling customers at this time. We have assigned a team to email or phone customers whose orders we believe will be delayed beyond one month of our normal delivery time frames but it will take them some time to identify all these orders and re-route them through supply chain and delivery systems that have available capacity. Calling us to query the delivery time related to your order at this time will drain staff resources from routing orders to operational supply/delivery systems and further exacerbate the delays.

Nevertheless. if you wish to cancel any items not yet shipped in your order because you are not in a position to wait, please email us at CustomerService@NorthWestPharmacy.com and we will cancel those items from your order. (Note that we are unable to cancel and refund orders that have already shipped.)

Other Updates

If you would like to get additional helpful updates on the coronavirus situation as it relates to your personal prescription drug supply, we encourage you to visit the page set up by the non-profit, Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation. On it, you’ll find answers to questions like:

  • Will there be any delays getting my prescriptions?
  • Should I be worried about a shortage of my drug? Should I be stocking up now?
  • Can you provide any assurance that the packages will be coronavirus-free?
  • I've seen a lot of information about the disease that has turned out to be false, where can I go for accurate information?
  • What is the best way for me to stay up-to-date and well-informed on the pandemic?
  • What is coronavirus?
  • What is COVID-19?

We're actively taking new orders, processing them and routing previously placed ones and doing all this as fast as we can for fulfillment and delivery. We are also watching how the coronavirus situation is evolving on a worldwide scale and we commit to evolving just as quickly. Please be assured that the NorthWestPharmacy.com Team is doing everything in its control to continue to serve you. We all hope that the impact of this virus will be minimized in the near future and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected.

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