Challenge: The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) represents the businesses who provide comprehensive medicines wholesaling, distribution and associated services across the four countries of the United Kingdom. The industry is a highly technical and complex one that involves a wide range of stakeholders who are heavily impacted by public policy and regulations. It is therefore vital that medicines wholesalers and distributors are able to understand and influence the environment in which they operate to ensure the success of their businesses and the continued safety of patients. HDA UK engaged APCO to professionalise the trade association and create a trusted voice for wholesalers and distributors in the medicines supply chain.

Approach: APCO acts as the secretariat of the HDA, providing policy, media and administrative support to the Executive Director of the association. APCO represents the HDA when it engages with UK government bodies, politicians, regulators and their European Union equivalents. The APCO team conducts proactive political and public policy outreach to officials and politicians. This outreach is informed by extensive research and acute insight of the industry, which is used for regularly drafting and submitting policy papers to parliamentary inquiries and government consultations. APCO runs the HDA’s press office, managing their media relations programme and social media presence. APCO also provides a tailored daily information service for HDA UK members, as well as running and managing conferences and receptions for the Association’s members.

Result: The HDA is now seen as a trusted partner in the UK’s medicines supply chain, enjoying mutually beneficial relationships with a wide range of stakeholders. Formerly the British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW), the Association was relaunched in February at a Parliamentary reception, hosted by Rt Hon Sir Kevin Barron MP, to better reflect the changes in the healthcare supply chain. This strategic decision was endorsed by the then Parliamentary Under Secretary for Life Sciences, George Freeman MP who welcomed the relaunch: “This is a great example of British business coming together to deliver value and efficiency for the taxpayer.” Previous success was achieved with the launch of the BAPW Gold Standard of Good Distribution, endorsed by an industry regulator, the MHRA and the then Health Minister Lord Howe. Another example was the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, before and during which APCO helped broker an agreement that ensured the safe delivery of medicines throughout months of disruption caused by both Games. The HDA has enjoyed extensive media exposure, in national and targeted specialist media such as Chemist and Druggist and The Pharmaceutical Journal.

Results At A Glance: 

  • Brokered an agreement that received ministerial thanks to ensure the safe delivery of medicines despite disruptions from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics
  • Drafted and designed a government endorsed Gold Standard for best practice in the sector
  • Extensive media coverage from BBC News, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Financial Times, The Guardian and key trade media 

Since 2004, APCO and HDA have worked together to raise the profile of medicines wholesaling in the United Kingdom and Europe with business partners, policy stakeholders, patients and the media.

From our Client

"Medicines distribution is an integral part of health care and patient safety. Without APCO, the HDA would not have achieved recognition of this. As a result, we now see the association play a key role in relevant policy development at the national and European levels."

Jeremy Main
The Healthcare Distribution Association