Savage, Christopher J., Lambourdiere, E. and Corbin, E. (2010) The changing role of wholesalers and logistics service providers in pharmaceutical supply chains: will it lead to greater sustainability? In: Proceedings of the 15th Annual Logistics Research Network Conference. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK, Northamptonshire, UK, pp. 388-395. ISBN 9781904564348

Pharmaceutical distributors and wholesalers have played a key part in the pharmaceutical products
supply chains in the United Kingdom and the USA for many years (HDMA, 2009). Their role is
changing as control of the “space” between manufacturers and retailers has become contested
(Corbin, 2006; PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2007; Savage and al., 2006), the economical crisis has
taken hold and governments on both sides of the Atlantic have brought forward new legislation
(Vecchione, 2009). This paper aims to show what the collaborative logistics practices of wholesalers
are and how the strategies developed by the logistics service providers may make the pharmaceutical
supply chain more sustainable.
Research Approach
This study analyses documents, websites and interviews of managers from British and American
wholesalers and logistics service providers. We employed the Graneheim and Lundman (2004)
methods to perform our content analysis. The software Nvivo 8 was used to analyse the collaborative
logistics strategies of wholesalers and logistics service providers of the pharmaceutical supply chain,
which are destined to improve its sustainability.
Findings and Originality
Logistics strategies developed by wholesalers and those applied by logistics service providers in
response to or in collaboration with manufacturers have been identified (Corbin, 2009). The features
of these operators that are now competing to establish collaborative relationships with manufacturers
and retailers have been evaluated to try to determine whether the concepts can help a more
sustainable supply chain to evolve.
Research Impact
Many types of collaborative logistics strategies have been studied in other sectors of activity; however
due to the traditional culture of privacy in the pharmaceutical supply chain, some may not have been
explored yet.
Practical Impact
For many years, drug distribution management in Great Britain and in the USA has been
characterised by business and adversarial relationships. The introduction of sustainable business
processes in the pharmaceutical supply chain is very recent. This paper presents a first attempt to
highlight, from a comparative perspective, the business processes in the domain of the strategic
logistics management of drug supply

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