How we are responding to COVID-19

Five lessons from the healthcare supply chain’s response to COVID-19


Five lessons from the healthcare supply chain’s response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resiliency of the healthcare supply chain. At AmerisourceBergen, we have long recognized that partnerships, data, efficiency, and sheer human spirit are vital components to ensuring supply chain stability and meeting our customers’ needs.

Be prepared for anything

As the pandemic took hold in the United States, AmerisourceBergen’s newly formed COVID-19 task force focused energies on maintaining inventory and stabilizing the supply chain
  • We implemented PPE requirements and introduced increased cleaning protocols and temperature checks for our distribution center associates. Our office-based associates transitioned to remote work.
  • We leveraged pre-established business continuity and crisis response plans—that had proven results during natural disasters—to ensure seamless continuation of labor and transportation. Our line of action allowed us to manage both COVID and an earthquake near our Salt Lake City distribution center.
  • As state and local governments issued stay-at-home mandates, our daily orders spiked from 4M to 6.5M so patients could continue to access a full supply of their prescriptions.
  • When the FDA issued emergency use authorization for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, we secured 150 ultra-low-temperature freezers. In addition to our existing 16,240 square feet of dedicated frozen product storage space, this made us ready to transport and store vaccines.

Data enables innovation

The COVID-19 pandemic forced all participants in the healthcare supply chain to accelerate and expand how we use data to meet patient needs
  • AmerisourceBergen utilized data to adjust our allocation strategy to accommodate areas and health systems in the United States with the highest demand for certain products—such as sedatives, inhalers, and antivirals used for COVID-19 therapies.
  • From hospital capacity to real-time data from Johns Hopkins, we think like epidemiologists to track community spread of COVID-19. This abundance of data predicts demands, helping our manufacturer partners plan operations 30, 60, and even 90 days in advance.
  • Existing data paired with intelligent modeling guides manufacturers’ long-term plans for 2021 and beyond.

Partnerships are key to success

Goal-oriented, strategic relationships give patients sufficient access to the medications and care they need, where they need it
  • Customers along the healthcare supply chain rely on the products and services distributors provide. It’s crucial that any disruptions to operations cannot impact our ability to deliver. AmerisourceBergen communicates regularly with our customers and manufacturer partners on how we have evolved to meet needs during this unpredictable time.
  • We continue to develop and deepen relationships with manufacturers, non-profits, and governments to enable faster distribution and a more durable supply chain. Public-private partnerships with the United States federal government, FDA, FEMA, HHS, and state governments have been crucial to meet shifting demands.
  • Our partnership with Healthcare Ready allows us to support the Essential Medicines Strategic Stockpile Act of 2020, which disseminates pharmaceuticals to high-infection areas in the United States.
  • Globally, the AmerisourceBergen family of companies has built strong partnerships in the fight against COVID-19. Innomar Strategies is partnering with the Canadian government to provide specialized cold-chain packaging and vaccine distribution capabilities. World Courier is working with multiple international governments to support the business continuity of the biopharma supply chain.