Span the Pharmacy-Supply Chain divide

Jan. 22, 2018

To the Editor:

In my career, I have been lucky enough to work closely with Directors of Pharmacy and other experts in the Pharmacy world and I think the relationship is strong in my current organization.

However, I was still struck by the conversations in HPN’s January 2018 article, “Supply Chain and Pharma’s karma chameleon.” While things are improving, in some organizations there can still be a delta of understanding between Pharmacy and Supply Chain for many reasons. Some of them are legitimate; some of them are not.

Unfortunately, assumptions on both sides are part of the problem. Some Pharmacy leaders tend to “tolerate” Supply Chain mucking about in their world and some Supply Chain leaders do not “appreciate” what Pharmacy is doing to manage all aspects of their business. Both parties are certainly responsible for working with physicians, but it is true that Pharmacy got there first, and in many institutions, they enjoy a higher degree of respect from the physician community.

I will say that over my 30 years I have seen more collaboration between Pharmacy and Supply Chain, and projects are successful because responsibilities are based more on strengths and abilities than titles. However, the underlying message of your article is correct: There continues to be a lack of understanding on both sides as to what the other side does and how they do it. As in our organization, if you can blend the best practices of both areas, both areas will improve and their mutual customers and organizations will benefit from that collaboration.

Joe Colonna
Vice President, Supply Chain
Piedmont Healthcare