Introducing the home delivery of prescription medicine in Sweden : An analysis of private pharmacies and their supply chains
Abstract: Logistics and Supply Chain Management has become a vital component in every industry in the globalised world. It is a key strategic tool for companies to deliver services and resources to stakeholders and a source of competitive advantage, consequently any failures to optimise or develop a supply chain can lead to a loss of customers, revenue and market share. The healthcare industry, specifically pharmaceuticals, is one such industry which is highly dependent on a stable and secure supply chain to deliver both products and services. However, on an extended level the pharmaceutical supply chain is often described as less mature than the automotive or aviation industry’s - both the part of the distribution channel connecting manufacturers to healthcare providers, as well as the one linking those to patients accessing medicine via authorised pharmacies. In several countries this was at least partly due to underdeveloped Information Technology (IT) infrastructure provided by the national health care providers. IT is often the driving force and backbone of any supply chain infrastructure - without the ability to compute vast amounts of data in real-time it becomes difficult for a supply chain to remain efficient and functional. Sweden is among the countries, which have upgraded their IT, adapted their law and thus allowed for the home delivery of sensitive prescription only (PO) medicine to patients which is, for example, already in use in England. To analyse the circumstances for an introduction of home delivery and its implications for the supply chain a dual case study adopting an abductive approach was carried out on both the corporate and retail level of PO medicine administration - namely, private pharmacy chains in Sweden, as well as a significant player in the pharmaceutical logistics industry.
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