Everything you need to know about how drugs are delivered.

TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - Canadians presented almost 600 million prescriptions to more than 9,000 neighbourhood pharmacies in 2015. Each and every medication dispensed passed through hundreds of checks and balances as part of a finely tuned distribution system—where the rules constantly evolve in the face of growing prescription volumes as well as innovations in treatment.

To understand that system and its evolution, a new educational program recently became available in Canada. Entitled "Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: A Comprehensive Introduction," the three-day course at the Schulich Executive Education Centre at York University, Toronto, maps out the regulations and realities that are unique to pharmaceutical distribution in Canada. Instructors bring decades of personal experience, representing distributors, pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies.

"I really liked the fact that it was an end-to-end overview of the pharmaceutical supply chain," says Anna Zahedi, manager of pharmacy procurement at Shoppers Drug Mart and a student of the inaugural program in October 2015. "The question and answer periods were also really important to me. There was a great knowledge base to draw from."

It's Canada's first supply-chain program dedicated to pharmaceuticals, says David Johnston, president and CEO of the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management, which helped the Schulich Centre develop the curriculum.

The degree of regulation in this country has created "one of the best pharmaceutical distribution systems in the world," notes Johnston. As such, people in the industry need to keep pace with constant change. "Regulations are increasingly intense and need to be adapted, in part because pharmaceutical products, such as biologic drugs, are more complicated. Even a tiny mistake can destroy a $25,000 medication."

"This course addresses a need that the pharmaceutical industry has had for quite some time," says Mark Thomas, program director for supply chain at Schulich. "It's for anyone in health care, or serving health care."

It's also good for business. "Organizations are more productive when everybody is speaking the same language and has a common understanding of how things work," says Thomas.

Dan Lang, national manager of quality assurance and regulatory affairs at Matrix Logistics in Moncton, New Brunswick, agrees. "I see the value of this course for senior managers, or people stepping into this industry, to understand the intricacies imposed in pharmacy distribution, and to understand why certain decisions are made."

At Auro Pharma Inc. in Woodbridge, Ontario, supply chain executive Arif Ahmad was able to take his learnings one step further. "I came away with ideas for inventory management, and we've since improved service levels. The content was practical and hands on."

More details on the course, scheduled for March and November this year, can be found at www.schulich.yorku.ca. A second three-day module, which delves deeper into supply-chain operations, is also under development and expected to be available before the end of the year.

SOURCE CAPDM

For further information: Terri Hay, Vice President, Industry & Member Relations, CAPDM, Tel: 905-265-0496, terri@capdm.ca

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