site.btaWholesalers Defend Vertical Integration in Pharmaceuticals Supply Chain
The Bulgarian Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) on Tuesday pointed out in a position paper that vertical integration between wholesalers and pharmacies opens up significant opportunities for Bulgarian patients, including regular and reliable supply by distributors, as well as a possibility to analyze comprehensively the needs down the chain and ensure stocks of medicines that are in steady demand.
On Monday, the Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union (BPhU) identified vertical integration in the drug supply chain as a problem for the sector, arguing that pharmacy chains, warehouses and even manufacturers have the same owners. These vertically linked structures may operate for their mutual benefit, so they can gain a position of monopoly, BPhU President Dimitar Marinov told journalists at BTA’s National Press Club. According to him, such dependencies also entail a risk of limiting patients' access to certain medicinal products which are supplied only to the pharmacies connected to the warehouses.
BAPW stated that vertical integration is a process resulting from the natural evolution of the market and is one of the fundamental concepts of the right to free competition for the benefit of consumer welfare. Over the years, various sector analyses and position papers of the Commission on Protection of Competition have unequivocally confirmed the right to vertical integration between participants in the healthcare sector, the Association argued.
During a discussion forum on Current challenges to medicines supply in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Drug Agency Executive Director Bogdan Kirilov said that between January 1 and July 31, 2023 his Agency received 126 alerts concerning the shortage of some 70 medicines. The alerts have been issued by therapeutic groups for the treatment of various diseases.