South Africa's National Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers is calling for the government to introduce minimum and maximum logistics fees for the handling of medicines. Without such measures, wholesalers claim that their businesses will be under threat.
Wholesalers have recently alleged that a number of drug companies are refusing to pay logistics fees. Meanwhile, drug makers are complaining that they are being forced to pay excessive charges up to 50%.
Following a recent conference, wholesalers are asking for a minimum logistics fee of 2.55%, depending on the product. The upper limit will be between 12.5% and 15%. The lower level would apply for "bulk wholesalers" who deal in large volumes, while the higher rate would protect those dealing in smaller units.
However, industry observers claim that pharmacists are registering as wholesalers in order to use the logistics fees to make up for the discounts they used to receive for bulk purchases. Such discounts were prohibited by legislation last year.