“We don’t think about that. All our focus is on normalizing the situation as soon as possible”.
According to Fimea, the national competent authority for regulating pharmaceuticals, Oriola Finland has failed to deliver a significant amount of drugs to its clients. A major distributor of health and wellbeing products that employs roughly 2,820 people has been hit with severe downtime after a major Enterprise Resource Planning system upgrade went wrong over the weekend.
According to The Association of Finnish Pharmacies many vendors are in the unfortunate position of not being able to deliver pre-ordered drugs to their customers. The mood of pharmacists getting in touch with the association and asking for advice can be described as that of deep shock and disbelief. HUS – The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa has put out a statement saying that unless Oriola can sort out it’s problems quickly, patient safety will be put at risk.
Switching vendors is no small endeavour
In 2014, 46% of all drugs sold in Finland were supplied by Oriola, so rapidly switching to an alternative distributor is no trivial task by any measure. As a result, roughly 70% of pharmacies in Finland are currently experiencing a deficit in drugs normally provided by the troubled distributor. The most acute situation concerns drugs for treatment of cancer and schizophrenia as well as insulin. To make matters worse, many drugs experiencing shortages lack a generic alternative. In the most critical situations, pharmacies do their best to avoid delivery interruptions by obtaining drugs they need from each other.
While pharmacies and hospitals were aware of Oriola’s planned system upgrade, nobody was expecting being unable to place their orders for several days in a row. Oriola’s lacklustre communication only added to the frustration.
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