Yes, we are successfully taking, processing and delivering affordable prescription drugs throughout the coronavirus crisis.
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May 2020 - Newsletter #5

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NorthWestPharmacy.com

Why Orders are Taking Longer to be Delivered and What We Have Done to Mitigate the Impact

From time to time over the last few weeks, we have received correspondence from a small minority of customers who were not aware of the extended delivery times due to the coronavirus crisis. Current delivery times are longer than under normal circumstances. Yet NorthWestPharmacy.com has been successfully taking, processing, and delivering affordable prescription drugs throughout the entire coronavirus crisis. You can continue to count on us.

How Long It is Taking for Delivery?

For items that are in stock, the average delivery time from order placement and prescription submission is four to seven weeks. Please note that these are the average delivery timelines we are observing but some parcels are arriving as quickly as a week after shipping while others can take more than seven weeks. Orders for products that are shorted, however, cannot be processed until we acquire the stock which, unfortunately, increases the time till ultimate delivery.

What Are the Reasons for the Delay? Transit Times and Short Stocks

Once shipped, all international airmail parcels, and not just those from NorthWestPharmacy.com, are normally carried in the cargo areas of passenger planes. But most of the world's passenger flights have been grounded so there is limited available cargo capacity to carry international airmail parcels. This has driven up the cost of transporting parcels significantly and there is often a long queue that parcels remain in before they are onboarded to flights. Add to that delays in the movement of parcels at air transit hubs on to connecting flights due to staffing reductions in ground personnel, customs clearance backlogs and interruptions in last mile postal delivery service.

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. These shortages are occurring worldwide and even in the United States. The American Medical Association has recently expressed concern about them as have Americans in a recent poll.

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 or India, where the coronavirus has had significant impact on factory production. There are reports that Chinese and Indian manufacturing capacity is resuming so we are cautiously optimistic, but the situation remains far from certain at this time, especially if there is an anticipated second wave of infections.

Because of all this, if a customer places an order for a product on the growing list of out of stock items, there can be a delay in shipping it.

Our Efforts to Mitigate the Impact to Our Valued Customers

Operationalize a Remote Call Center

Within seven days of the coronavirus infections gaining momentum in North America, IP phones were acquired and installed in the homes of call center representatives along with restricted secure access to our databases. We then live tested the dispersed remote call center and got it fully operational to ensure customers would continue to be served in the event that call center representatives could not safely attend the physical call center. All the while, pharmacist counseling never stopped.

Around-the-Clock Procurement to Secure Prescription Drug Inventory

Members of our procurement team have been working around-the-clock, dealing with our trusted suppliers in multiple time zones around the world in arranging to have stocks on hand to fill orders, including stocks of very difficult to procure products. Our team has been and continues to be very successful in its efforts.

Secure Cargo Space and Absorb Product Cost Increases

Two of our largest supply facilities were closed for over a month due to the lockdown of the nations they operate in and from where they source drugs from. Flight paths everywhere were disrupted when passenger flights were canceled. Despite all this, our team secured every little bit of the limited air cargo space we could and got orders on their way to customers. Despite higher product acquisition costs we've absorbed in dispensing from our secondary dispensing facilities, we keep re-routing as many orders as we reasonably can to secondary dispensing facilities that provide the least number of flight connections required to get to your destination. This helps minimize the delays parcels would otherwise face at transit hubs. It was and continues to be a significant undertaking to get orders delivered as quickly as possible but day after day we are successfully getting it done.

Transparency and Regular Communication with Customers

As soon as we became aware that worldwide delivery and logistics systems were about to be disrupted by the coronavirus crisis, we changed the disclosures on our website to inform customers of the potential delivery times and the reasons for it. We made a similar change in the call center disclosures provided when customers order over the phone. We then obtained the consent of customers to the extended delivery time before taking orders from them so that they would know what to expect. We followed up those disclosures with emails confirming the same and we've also been sending newsletters to customers twice a week with updates. All of this continues at this time.

Please be assured that NorthWestPharmacy.com is committed to providing you with open, transparent and detailed communications at all times, and especially during times of crises.

What We Didn't Do

As prescription drug stock shortages surged due to the coronavirus crisis, so too did the unscrupulous trade in counterfeit drugs. NorthWestPharmacy.com refused to entertain supply offers from anybody that was not already part of our longstanding licensed, vetted, and trusted supply network - which meets the stringent safety protocols of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association.

We are acutely aware that timely delivery of your vital prescription medications is of critical importance. But drug authenticity is a paramount concern to us and we know it is to you too. That's why we informed customers in past newsletters that our approach is designed "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."

Temporary Shipping Fee Increase

We've explained in past newsletters that the cost of shipping parcels skyrocketed as a result of the reduced air transport capacity worldwide and the significant competition for it. "Rates are the highest I've ever seen", says a shipping industry insider in a recent publication that caters to those in the freight forwarding business. Because of this, we had to pass on this extra cost to customers as it was simply too much for us to absorb.

We understand that an extra $10 is a lot to pay at this difficult time because we too are consumers who are facing increased costs or shortages right now for the many critical supplies we need for our own families. So it was with deep concern, and only after careful consideration about the impact on our customers, that we implemented a temporary increase to the shipping fee. Quite sincerely, it was a decision that we had no real choice in having to make.

We absolutely reject and abhor persons and businesses that engage in price gouging during a time when we believe we all need to work together for each other, which time is now. As soon as shipping rates come down, we will pass the savings on to customers immediately. High shipping rates negatively affect our business and we want to see them come down as much as you do.

Thank You for Treating Our Team So Well

We're incredibly grateful to you, our customers, who have shown us the utmost patience, understanding and been so respectful and appreciative toward our front-line representatives. It means a lot to them and the rest of our team who are working behind the scenes to make our customers and our operations among their top priorities during a time when they are also worried about their own families.

We encourage customers 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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