European Healthcare Distribution Association / Groupement International de la Répartition Pharmaceutique

Critical infrastructure

Critical infrastructure (23 April 2020)

Full-service healthcare distributors are recognised in most EU Member States as part of the critical infrastructure. 


As lockdowns measures have been extended by national authorities, it was essential that full-service healthcare distributors could maintain staffing levels and services, including deliveries to and within quarantined / locked- down / restricted areas. 


The critical infrastructure status confers full-service healthcare distributors the means to ensure the stability needed to maintain the necessary activity levels for medicines distribution, which could include among others:

  • Special permits for drivers to allow access to quarantined / locked-down / restricted areas and to travel without restrictions 
  • Staff permitted to travel to their work sites 
  • Special status for premises to have “rapid decontamination” or deep cleans, if required
  • Staff access to on-duty schools and creches, where possible
  • Staff access to special funding measures, where possible 
  • Access to PPE for staff and drivers
  • Support from army or police, if necessary 


These essential measures ought to be deployed across Member States to ensure that all European patients can rely on a fair and adequate access to their medicines. That is why GIRP has been calling on national authorities, which have not done so yet to urgently classify full-service healthcare distributors as critical infrastructure for the ultimate benefit of patients. 

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