HDA Annual Conference 2019

Critical role of HDA members heralded by Minister at the Associations Annual Conference

  • Minister of State thanks distributors for ensuring a resilient supply chain
  • Delegates enjoy speakers from across the supply chain
  • Disruptive potential of blockchain explained


London, 30 May 2019 – Stephen Hammond MP, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care was the keynote speaker at the HDA’s Annual Conference which took place in London last week. Speaking ahead of a day’s worth of speeches by leading executives from across the medicines supply chain, the Minister noted all the ways that HDA member businesses are key to ensuring patients receive the right medicine, in the right place, at the right time, and how collaboration between the HDA and Government was instrumental in the safe and efficient operation of medicines supply. Areas of cooperation highlighted included:

  • Brexit preparedness – including stockpiling, monitoring changes in purchasing patterns and logistical questions.
  • Managing availability issues such as mitigating risks before they impact supply.
  • Providing value for money for the NHS through a cost-effective and efficient distribution system.
  • The adoption of next generation technologies to improve the quality of service, not only for patients, but customers up and down the supply chain.

Following the Conference, HDA Executive Director, Martin Sawer noted:

The Minister’s vote of confidence in the HDA and its members is very welcome at a time the medicines supply chain is facing challenges from all angles. It is easy to forget the hard work that medicines distributors put in day-in day-out in supporting the NHS; embracing innovation; facing ongoing disruption from new entrants to the market; and implementing constant regulatory updates. Government recognition of such efforts is very reassuring for the sector.

Other topics covered at the Conference included the potential for blockchain to disrupt the current medicines supply chain, revolutionising how products are tracked; data is collected; and safety ensured. Raja Sharif, CEO of FarmaTrust introduced delegates to the transformative technology, that, although often heralded in other sectors such as finance, has not yet been associated with the potential to change the current medicine distribution model.

The HDA has supported International Health Partners (IHP), a charity that distributes medicines to developing countries and during disaster relief operations, for over 12 years. This year, the Conference welcomed IHP’s CEO, Adele Paterson, who gave an update on the charity’s life saving work, much of which is enabled by actions undertaken by HDA members in supplying the much-needed medicines.

Delegates also learnt of the most pressing issues facing the branded manufacturing sector, with the Chief Executive of the ABPI, Mike Thompson, noting that the pharmaceutical industry is well ahead of other comparable sectors in a variety of areas. Including Brexit preparedness; setting a future-looking strategy for growth; and collaborating with partners to deliver improved patient outcomes. He concluded by noting that his members’ cooperation with medicines distributors was at the greatest he had ever known.

From a pharmacy point of view, delegates heard from a range of speakers, covering off the current status and future hopes for community and hospital pharmacy alike. Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr Bruce Warner, called for community pharmacy to fully engage in the fledgling Primary Care Networks and consider greater pan-pharmacy collaboration to smooth transfers of care between providers.

Equally, a panel discussion on the future of pharmacy called for greater cooperation, but also a total rethink on the role of the pharmacist, with a focus on holistic care provision. Hemant Patel of the English Pharmacy Board, Des Hennelly of IQVIA and Rob Darracott of P3 Pharmacy Magazine debated how the traditional pharmacy model had to be revolutionised for the sector to survive in the current NHS environment.

Recognising the need for pharmacy to evolve its role in the NHS, the Conference was closed by Simon Dukes, CEO of the PSNC, who updated attendees on his hopes for the current contract negotiations with the Government. With the need to focus on services a clear priority.

Martin Sawer concluded:

As the HDA looks to help define the future of the ever-evolving healthcare distribution sector, it is crucial that our members are kept up to date of the latest developments. Whether that is how blockchain could revolutionise the supply chain, or how Government officials expect medicine distribution to change, our Annual Conference is designed to inform and entertain in equal measures.

About the Healthcare Distribution Association

The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) represents those businesses who supply medicines, medical devices and healthcare services for patients, pharmacies, hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. HDA UK members operate across the 4 nations of the United Kingdom enabling a safe, efficient and high-quality supply chain for the healthcare sector. They are responsible for distributing over 92% of NHS medicines and provide wholesaling services including working capital, stock management and IT systems to their supply chain partners. The HDA and its members are at the forefront of the constantly evolving healthcare supply chain, which is seeing innovative practices and technologies make new services possible for manufacturers and to those who dispense medicines, reflecting the needs and choices of individual patients.

Contact Information

Will Browne –

Hannah Milne –

0207 031 0590

HDA Annual Conference 2019

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

See the Infographic

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  • Access to leading policy and industry forums of debate and discussion
  • Invitations to a range of networking industry events organised through the year, including an Annual Conference and a Business Day
  • Representation on HDA working parties, including the Members’ Liaison Group
  • A daily Political and Media Bulletin and HDA Newsletters
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