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Purpose-driven: Getting critical medication to a child in need

Putting people first is part of how we live our purpose. For these two AmerisourceBergen associates, it meant getting a critical medication to a young cancer patient.

A six-year-old girl has brain cancer. She's been on a clinical trial for years, taking a specialty therapy once per week.

The end of the clinical trial approaches, and she only needs a few more weeks' worth of medications to finish it. But the cancer therapy has been discontinued, shelves emptied for miles around. Nobody can find that therapy for this little girl.

And then, human beings do what they do best: They come together and help for the greater good.

Those humans were Kara Lynn and Nick Giannone at AmerisourceBergen, who acted with speed and heart when they learned of the patient in need.

A singular focus

It all started on a Tuesday morning in June, when Giannone received an email from a supplier contact who was friends with the mother.

“She said they'd been looking all around, but couldn't locate the therapy from any of the wholesalers or any other possible sources," said Giannone, a generic category manager at AmerisourceBergen. “So when she had reached out to me, I was able to see that the item was discontinued, but I also saw that we had about 40 units on hand at a different distribution center."

The stock was there, albeit miles away. Giannone's focus became singular: Get those doses to that little girl.

He emailed Lynn, a colleague from the brand team with whom he'd never before worked, to initiate an internal transfer to a distribution center that was closer to the patient.

“How many doses do you need?" wrote Lynn, a brand buyer in replenishment operations at AmerisourceBergen. And with that, the two quickly exchanged emails to sort through shipping and logistics, and also to reactivate the discontinued item with the data management team. By that afternoon, the unlikely generic/brand duo had engaged more stakeholders to arrange transport from the origin warehouse to the one closest to the six-year-old patient. From there, her pharmacy could order it and soon have it ready for pickup.

Putting people first

That next week, the patient's mother picked up the prescription from her local pharmacy so that her daughter could continue the trial without delay.

“I do think it's a great example of the team effort that I experience daily here at AmerisourceBergen," Lynn said. “Between all the emails and messages and phone calls, there were a lot of people within the company who understood the importance and were dedicated to helping us get that product to the patient."

Giannone agrees, a nod to one of the guiding principles that makes efforts like this commonplace at AmerisourceBergen: Put people first; the rest will follow.

“We're such a large company, and everyone has their own responsibilities, but in this instance, we came together and rallied our expertise to handle this request as quickly as possible," he said.

As for the patient? She'll now get to finish her clinical trial. Then, her oncologist will help direct a new care plan. And helping bring her past the finish line of that trial is certainly something to be proud of. This little girl can close one chapter and begin another.

Cancer can be a heart-wrenching experience, particularly when little ones are diagnosed. But moments like these shine bright amid the challenges. And especially in healthcare—even the smallest requests can be the most meaningful.

Learn more about distribution excellence at AmerisourceBergen.