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Prepackaged Medications – Changing Landscape

Continuing consolidation among repackagers is creating opportunities and challenges in the clinic dispensing market.  The challenges fall on medical clinics that are experiencing disruptions in their supply chain, changing personnel, higher prices, new processes, discontinued medications and various other issues.  Northwind Pharmaceuticals has received many calls from unhappy clinics looking for better support, steady access to medications and competitive pricing.  In the spirit of sharing, I wanted to put a few bullets from those conversations into this post.

  • Why are companies merging?  Money, competitive positioning, aging owners etc.  The pharmaceutical industry is changing rapidly and pressures continue to mount for business owners.  Regulatory scrutiny continues to increase along with downward pressure on pricing.  Its tough out there.
  • Why am I having difficulty getting medications?  When it comes to consolidation, many of the repackagers are ending up on the coasts.  For clinics that are located farther away from their supplier’s new location, this means increased shipping times.  In addition, when companies merge, the goal is to reduce costs which often means streamlining formularies or eliminating product offerings.  Finally, you have the normal challenges of recalls, manufacturer shortages and regulatory barriers that tend to choke supply.
  • How do I know if I should stay with my current supplier?  Everyone tends to stay on their current path unless something pushes them off of it.  If you need better service, better prices, better technology, better delivery times or any of a host of priorities, then it is probably time to do an evaluation of your options.
  • I just don’t have time to evaluate options…  Actually, looking around doesn’t have to take much time.  You usually figure it out in a couple of interactions.  Is the vendor responsive?  Believe it or not, many are not very timely in responding.  Do they offer the technology or labeling that you need?  Do they offer the medications that you dispense?  Are their prices competitive?  Do they make it easy to order?

We all want to buy from people we know and trust.  When a company is bought, often the people you trust are required to follow new dictates.  They may still be trustworthy but it just might not work for your situation anymore. Your supplier needs to provide the dispensing systems that meet your office medication dispensing requirements.  Pricing, availability and service are all part of that equation.  Things are changing fast; don’t be afraid to look at a little change yourself.

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