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ASCM Insights

Trend-Setting Shifts Continue in Pharma


With big vaccine announcements from both Pfizer and Moderna over the past couple of weeks, the pharmaceutical supply chain has been all over the news. But now, we’re turning our attention to a different aspect of the industry: home delivery of prescription drugs. Amazon has just announced that it rolled out the service, featuring discounts of up to 80% for Prime members and free, two-day prescription delivery. Available in 45 states, users also have access to a pharmacist-staffed help line and a discount card for those who are uninsured.

The health care and pharmaceutical sector is vast, and disruption is not uncommon. However, as most of us are accustomed to going to our local pharmacies to pick up prescriptions, some experts believe the current system is relatively ingrained. Furthermore, switching to a new pharmacy often requires a doctor’s visit, which many people are shying away from, with virus outbreaks once again on the rise.

On the other hand, a global pandemic may offer Amazon the perfect opportunity to get consumers comfortable with ordering their prescription drugs online. “More and more people look to complete everyday errands from home,” said Senior Vice President Doug Herrington in an Amazon press release. “Pharmacy is an important and needed addition to the Amazon online store.”

Analysts predict the new prescription drug delivery service will have a devastating effect on smaller drugstores. For the larger players, the announcement has already reverberated through the industry, with shares of CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens sinking 9%, 16% and 9%, respectively, on Tuesday.

“The entire supply chain for prescription drugs could ultimately be disrupted,” Jonathan Ponciano writes for Forbes. He adds that $350 billion is spent on prescription pharmaceuticals each year, presenting a huge opportunity for Amazon and further supporting the wisdom of establishing an online pharmacy.

Make an impact at ASCM CONNECT 2021

If 2020 has taught supply chain professionals anything, it’s that our industry is always transforming. It’s with this in mind that we are creating ASCM CONNECT 2021, a hybrid conference experience, taking place October 24-26, both in San Antonio and virtually. One of our learning pillars is emerging trends, which will feature presentations to help our participants stay on top of major developments and learn about what’s driving innovation in supply chain.

In addition, the dynamic fulfillment learning pillar is designed to help attendees streamline and optimize logistics, transportation and distribution — including warehousing strategies, pick, pack, shipment and much more. ASCM CONNECT also features presentations about intelligent supply, operational excellence, synchronized planning and much more.

If you have expertise in one or more of these learning pillars, ASCM invites you to submit an abstract to the ASCM CONNECT 2021 call for presentations. The call is open through Monday, December 7. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your strategies, case studies and best practices as an educational session presenter. In addition to gaining recognition and building connections with supply chain colleagues from across the globe, your insights are valuable to the entire ASCM community and an important part of making the conference a success. Learn more and submit an abstract today.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted at

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