We are now less than 45 days from the closing of repackaging operations for PSS/DSI.  The market has been flooded with dispensing clinics looking for new suppliers and vendors like Northwind Pharmaceuticals have been scrambling to respond to everyone.  My recent post PSS/DSI Dispensing Clinics Lifeline – We're Here to Help!,  talked about how we might help with your transition.  Time is running out and there is still a lot of movement in the market.  Here are some additional thoughts for you to consider as you evaluate your options:

  • Virtually every discussion I've had with a clinic looking for a new vendor has started with pricing.  Pricing is important.  It is also an obvious place to begin a discussion.  However, it is not the MOST important element in your decision.  I've argued in the past about features of good suppliers ( Choosing a prepackaged medication supplier – 2012 ).  Factor pricing in but look for ways to build a relationship – it will help carry you through bumps ahead.  In addition, we are getting requests from dozens and dozens of clinics daily.  It takes a lot of time to put pricing together.  The reality is that most suppliers will match your existing pricing from a PSS supplier.  That might be a good place to start.  It will save time for both of you.
  • There is a reality coming to the market.  There will be shortages.  I frequently get the question: What is your capacity?  PSS's departure is putting 2600 clinics in the market for a new supplier – no one has that kind of excess capacity sitting idle.  We are rapidly adding thousands of items to our inventory to meet the additional demand.  Some of our competitors are placing bets on future demand but most are waiting to see what clinics they pick up – it is expensive and risky to put products on the shelf in anticipation of what the market will need.  Come December 1, the PSS music will stop and some clinics won't have a chair.  Delaying your decision could put you down the priority list.  The good news is that it won't take long for the industry to fill the gap.  
  • Some clinics feel that sending requests to 4, 5, or 6 other suppliers will secure a better deal.  At this point, we know what our competitors are offering.  We know that there is a lot of activity and it is competitive.  We also know that we've got to focus our resources effectively and look for the best fits.  If you want to find a good partner/supplier, take the time to get know a couple of your options.  You will get better service in the short and long run.  For our part, we are responding to clinics who indicate an interest in developing a relationship.  Our business is more complex than simply shipping a bottle of 30 pills.  Software, patients, compliance, expirations, billing, labeling – it takes systems, processes and expertise to support your clinic.  We want to work with clinics that see value in getting to know us and letting us get to know them

Physician dispensing is alive and well.  This transition too shall pass.  If you are still looking for a good option or have other questions/comments, feel free to email me at phil.berry@nwpharma.com. Best of luck!

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