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Transforming health care delivery by ensuring quality medicines reach people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS.

A smart investment by PEPFAR leads to lower prices and reliable supply of HIV/AIDS commodities

Established in 2005 as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), SCMS provides a reliable, cost-effective and secure supply of products for HIV/AIDS programs in PEPFAR-supported countries.  At the time, many doubted HIV/AIDS commodities could be reliably delivered to the hardest-to-reach areas of the developing world. Indeed, there was no precedent for what SCMS was tasked to achieve.

Before SCMS, shortages and stockouts of commodities caused dangerous “treatment holidays” for patients.  Emergency orders wasted money on rush fees and high freight costs. Lack of inventory control wasted valuable commodities due to expiry, improper storage and theft. Poor coordination led to redundancies and gaps in service.

Under the umbrella of the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, SCMS mobilized a team of 13 private sector, nongovernmental and faith-based organizations that are among the most trusted names in supply chain management and international public health and development.


The success of SCMS reflects PFSCM's main goals: to ensure reliable availability of essential products to programs in developing countries and to strengthen national supply chains to become sustainable mechanisms for delivering products to clients. With this foundation, SCMS has implemented innovative strategies and industry best practices to transform the way public health commodities are delivered to developing countries.

A new way of doing business: Connecting each country to a global strategy
SCMS Brochure

SCMS buys commodities for 21 PEPFAR-supported countries in what is known as “pooled procurement.” High-volume and high-frequency procurement—averaging about $20 million in commodities and more than 200 shipments per month—has enabled SCMS to forge relationships with key suppliers and freight companies. This strong foundation facilitates lower price negotiation and ensures availability of commodities and space on key shipping routes.

The sheer volume of commodities procured through SCMS also provides the project with unique market intelligence to identify and respond to trends in commodity pricing, shipping and supply availability. SCMS expertise extends over evolving factors that can impact AIDS prevention, care and treatment programs.

The more you buy, the more you save

Reliability of supply is not the only goal for SCMS. When PEPFAR was announced in 2003— HIV/AIDS treatment cost about $1,500 per patient per year. Due to a ground-breaking initiative by the US Food and Drug Administration to approve generic ARVs for use in PEPFAR-supported countries, and taking advantage of competition among multiple suppliers, SCMS has helped lower the average cost of ARVs to an affordable $100 to $200 per year per patient.

In addition, while most comparable programs continue to ship by air (the most expensive mode of shipping), SCMS works with PEPFAR programs to switch from air freight to sea and road. SCMS now ships about 65 percent of freight by ocean and land, saving up to 85 percent on shipping costs compared to air shipments.

Measuring impact of a reliable, cost-effective supply

Today, there are virtually no stockouts of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) in PEPFAR-supported programs, and SCMS provides enough ARVs to support over half the 3.2 million people on treatment through PEPFAR.

While many non-PEPFAR-supported programs struggle with stockouts and unreliable supply, SCMS’s on-time delivery averaged 80 percent in 2010.

SCMS has trained staff in multiple countries to buy appropriate laboratory commodities in the local market, further driving down the cost of procurement, reducing delivery times and transferring valuable skills to the local workforce. SCMS has also helped transform public health supply chains in many countries, strengthening warehousing, distribution, logistics management, quality assurance and other key supply chain disciplines.

Using strategic stock in its innovative regional distribution centers, and leveraging relationships with suppliers, SCMS has become an obvious choice for emergency suppliers within US Government and other programs. Access examples of our impact.

SCMS, by any measure, is a sound investment by PEPFAR and the US Government.


We strengthen or establish secure, reliable, cost effective and sustainable supply chains to meet the care and treatment needs of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. In collaboration with in-country and international partners

In collaboration with in-country and international partners, SCMS:

1.  Provide quality, best-value health care products to those who need them

2.  Deploy innovative solutions to assist programs to enhance their supply chain capacity

3. Ensure accurate supply chain information is collected, shared and used


Health Commodities Storage Best Practices: In Botswana, SCMS has produced an exciting new poster which illustrates commodity storage guidelines. This poster will be distributed to more than 700 health centers.

Report on Countering the Problem of Falsified and Substandard Drugs: Falsified and substandard medicines provide little protection from disease and, worse, can expose consumers to major harm. SCMS's Tom Layloff contributed to this report from the Institute of Medicine, which lays out a plan to invest in quality to improve public

Visit the SCMS in the News Archive

The Supply Chain Management System (scms) is implemented by the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, Inc. This website was made possible through the support of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of contract no. GPO-I-00-05-00032-00. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of USAID or the US government.