HDMA Drug Availability Guideline Released, Recommends Communications Improvements and Standards

RESTON, Va.- The Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) released Ensuring Product Availability – a Recommended Voluntary Industry Guideline, a new set of voluntary guidelines intended to help the pharmaceutical supply chain prevent and work through product shortages that affect patient care. Developed by the HDMA Drug Availability Task Force (DATF), these recommended guidelines protect the safety and efficiency of the pharmaceutical supply chain by enhancing current communication practices with a set of commonly defined terms and timing recommendations. In following the guidelines, the DATF believes that product shortages will be communicated to distributors, state and federal regulators, and patients in a timely and efficient manner. Further, supply chain stakeholders will be better equipped to manage inventory, allocate product in short supply, and prevent shortages except in unforeseeable cases.

HDMA's DATF set out to create the product availability guidelines in response to industry concerns about a perceived increase in the number of product shortages affecting patient care. To develop effective standards for the entire pharmaceutical supply chain, HDMA invited a broad group of stakeholders to provide input and comments in the writing of the final document. Those contributing information include HDMA members and associates, industry groups and trade associations, consultants, and regulators. Formal endorsers of Ensuring Product Availability - a Recommended Voluntary Industry Guideline include AmeriNet, CuraScript, and the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association.

"HDMA is pleased that so many segments of the supply chain were involved in the creation of these guidelines and communications best practices," says HDMA Executive Vice President and COO Nancy Hanagan. "This was a collaborative process, and the guidelines go a long way toward improving the flexibility and the responsiveness of the supply chain."

Ensuring Product Availability - a Recommended Voluntary Industry Guideline is available free of charge from HDMA's Web site at www.healthcaredistribution.org. The guidelines include recommendations on product shortage management, product shortage communications, shortage allocation best practices, year-end inventory management best practices, and timing recommendations for shortage communications. The guidelines also provide information on product supply issues, drug shortage Web sites, strategies for combating product shortages, and uniform definitions for common product shortage terms.

HDMA's mission is to secure safe and effective distribution of healthcare products, create and exchange industry knowledge affecting the future of distribution management, and influence standards and business processes that produce efficient healthcare commerce. For more information, visit www.healthcaredistribution.org

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