At Smartway, everything we do is about people. Nothing is more important to us than empowering access to the medicines that patients need, not just through healthcare professionals in the UK but more directly when we need to.

Our innovative quality control systems, nurtured supply chain and trusting relationships across the pharmaceutical space make us uniquely able to respond to big challenges with confidence.

In late 2021, we worked with an NHS patient who was faced with a shortage of vital pain relief medicine to treat a chronic condition. This patient was not able to access the alternative treatment needed. Our robust processes and experienced team allowed us to act fast and bridge the gap between supply challenges and patient need.

Much-needed relief from menstrual pain

Through a decade of excruciating menstrual pain, Poppy Kidby had tried contraceptive pills, Mirena coils and many other different types of medicine to try and find one that suited her best.

My daughter had tried numerous different things. But the pain was constant – not just monthly but throughout the month, too. At one time, she ended up hospitalised for a week with an inflamed oesophagus due to the horrible medications she was taking.

Jacquelin Kidby, Poppy’s Mother

Eventually, a gynaecologist at the NHS recommended a specific alternative medicine in the same therapy area. It worked. For the first time in years, Poppy could live a relatively normal life.

However, this brief relief was soon cut short. In August 2021, Poppy was told by her pharmacy that the unlicensed medicine was now in shortage – and the next availability could be as late as March 2022. 

Poppy was scared, knowing how much her life would go back to what it was before. I called many pharmacies to see if I could get it. Eventually, I contacted Smartway after reading a lot about them on the Internet.

Jacquelin Kidby, Poppy’s Mother

Leveraging our procurement network

After an initial conversation on our online chat service, we called Jacquelin to discuss the challenge – and how we could help Poppy get access to the medicine she needed. It was important this was done quickly, as Poppy had returned to using strong opioids to manage her pain.

At Smartway, we invest time and resources in a resilient, multi-layered supply chain. In the last almost 30 years, we’ve built a global supply network for a wide range of medicines. Our global reach and trusting relationships allow us to source medicines that are otherwise in short supply and empower access for patients across the globe. 

In this case, we could work at speed to get Poppy access to the medicine she needed as soon as possible.

Smartway was exceedingly helpful. They responded straight away, followed up with a phone call, and explained what was needed to get the medicine to Poppy really quickly.

Jacquelin Kidby, Poppy’s Mother

Close collaboration with the NHS

Jacqueline advised us of her local pharmacy and, from there, we took care of everything, making it as easy and effortless as possible for Jacqueline and Poppy. We got in touch with the pharmacy to process the order, while the pharmacy worked with Poppy’s GP to get a revised prescription to enable access to the medicine.

Our transparent, communicative approach helped us accelerate this process and get the medicine dispatched on a next-day delivery to the pharmacy. Despite some delays in sourcing a new prescription for an unlicensed medicine from the pharmacy, Poppy was able to resume taking the medicine months earlier than would have otherwise been possible.

It isn’t just Poppy we have helped with access to this specific medicine. We have helped over 200 NHS and private patients access this medicine across the United Kingdom, where they found themselves in a similar position to Poppy. 

Ongoing support and a culture of care

We take a long-term view to everything we do, not just moving quickly to resolve immediate challenges, but also planning for the future.

Since this initial engagement in September 2021, the same pharmacy has contacted us for subsequent prescriptions of this medicine. The second order was processed within just one day, and we continue to supply the medicine Poppy on a regular basis. Since then, we have continuously worked with the NHS to supply the same medicine to almost 200 patients, who were unable to access it otherwise. In many ways, Jacqueline and Poppy have helped other patients access these medicines in the local area. 

Our local GP got Poppy’s prescription wrong twice and, in desperation, I reached out to Smartway again to see what they could do. I didn’t just get an email, I got a call once more with how they could help even though it was not their role to do this. Through everything, I was in a very emotional state at times – but Smartway gave me a wonderful service, help and kind words. They’ve been a lifesaver to my daughter, because when she’s in pain, I’m in pain too. Thank you just isn’t enough.

Jacquelin Kidby, Poppy’s Mother

Find out more about how we can help with supplying Hospital & Pharmacy urgent medicines that are in shortage.