AmerisourceBergen wins HDA’s 2021 Distribution Management Award

Company is also cited by SAP; meanwhile, HDA attendees get cautioned by FDA

Although AmerisourceBergen, like the other major wholesalers, shows up routinely in national headlines over the ongoing, multibillion-dollar litigation around opioid distribution, the company has good news to celebrate, too. This past week, at the Distribution Management Conference of the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA), the organization was awarded the 2021 Distribution Management Award, "in recognition of the company’s engagement with manufacturer and dispensing trading partners during the Covid-19 pandemic."

The company was cited for its efforts to keep “sustainable ordering practices” for pharmaceutical restocking at its pharmacy clients. This included the drugs used for treating Covid-19 patients, which saw dramatic swings in demand as the pandemic took hold. “Our work during this pandemic, and specifically supporting communication alignment across trading partners and distributing Covid-19 therapies, has been an absolute honor,” said Heather Zenk, president of distribution services at AmerisourceBergen.

Coincidentally, last spring, the company was also honored as the 2021 Innovation Award winner by one of its key service providers, SAP, for its use of Advanced Track and Trace for Pharmaceuticals (ATTP), SAP’s offering for compliance with the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), and comparable supply-chain tracking regulations globally. Among a wide range of SAP customers, AmerisourceBergen was cited for working with SAP “to pursue the greenfield development” of SAP ATTP, as well as a related offering, the SAP Information Collaboration Hub for Life Sciences.

Apropos of DSCSA and the HDA conference, a speaker from FDA, Leigh Verbois, director of FDA’s Office of Drug Security, Integrity and Response at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), advised attendees not to expect any postponement of the November 2023 deadline for full DSCSA compliance, with an interoperable electronic system for collecting and sharing drug transaction data. “It is FDA’s goal that we not extend the November deadline for interoperability,” she said. However, given that there are still unresolved guidance expected from the agency, and that it has had a track record of delaying enforcement of key milestone requirements already, keeping that vow will be difficult.