Latham steps in to help Alliance Boots on distribution contract

The London office of Latham & Watkins has completed its first outsourcing deal for Alliance Boots, advising the health group on its unique distribution agreement with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Latham has been working with Boots for eight months, but this mandate is the first for the Alliance UniChem side of the business. Boots merged with Alliance UniChem in July to create Europe’s largest pharmacy and healthcare group.

London managing partner Andrew Moyle and outsourcing partner Martin Cotterill worked alongside Alliance Boots general counsel Marco Pagni to get the deal finished in a short space of time.

Following the merger Pagni has embarked on a major shake-up of the company’s external legal advisers and is expected to launch a formal panel by Christmas. Cotterill said: “Marco rang and told us there was a lot going on and we didn’t stop until we got the deal completed. We went from nought to one hundred in a short period of time.”

Pfizer is the first pharmaceutical company to appoint a single distributor for its products in the UK.

UniChem won the deal through a tender process, with Latham brought in at a later stage to put together the final contract.

Most pharmaceutical companies use a number of different logistics companies to transport products to chemists, but Pfizer was concerned with counterfeit products entering the supply chain.

“This deal came about from security issues about protecting drugs on the high street,” said Cotterill.

Pfizer handled its part of the deal in-house.