Where have all the Flu Vaccines gone?
On the April 10 Business Insider published an article that raised several questions from the ICPA and its members. There has been major concern regarding the apparent mal distribution of this year’s flu vaccines, leaving independent pharmacies and independent general practitioners (GPs’) with little or no stock.
Annually, the same exercise of pre-ordering flu vaccines takes place late in 2019 to ensure that the pharmacy or GP will have enough supply for their respective communities. This also allows manufacturers to forecast demand and ensure supply. However, in 2020, only some pharmacies, mainly corporate chains, received their quota of pre-ordered flu vaccines. Considering the news article, it appears some received four times more than in previous years. This while many independent pharmacies and GP’s have reportedly received less than half their pre-orders while others received none.
This raises serious concerns regarding the manipulation of the supply chain favouring large corporate pharmacy chains, the impact, particularly on the low LSM population, and raises the question – “Where have all the flu vaccines gone?”
The ICPA has written to the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, requesting an investigation into what we believe is manipulation of the supply chain which has left many healthcare providers unable to protect their healthcare workers and vulnerable patients from deadly flu this year.
ICPA (Independent Community Pharmacy Association) is an organization which provides independent community pharmacies with a collective strength and a coherent voice that is heard by government, medical schemes, pharmaceutical suppliers and importantly, the consumer.
ICPA represents one of the largest pools of professionals in the healthcare sector with over 1 100 pharmacies, about 3 000 pharmacists and 20 000 supportive healthcare personnel spread across metropolitan, urban and rural South Africa.
The objective of ICPA is to assist and support its members in securing a sustainable and successful future as independent, owner-managed pharmacies.
In addition to this, the ICPA strives to foster an understanding of the role that independent pharmacies can (and do) play in delivering important healthcare services to the communities that they serve. All ICPA members are committed to high quality pharmacist care and to the restoration and maintenance of the health and well-being of the consumer.