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HDMA Factbook: $305 Billion in Pharmaceutical Sales Delivered Through Primary Distributors

November 17, 2014

ARLINGTON, Va. — Pharmaceutical sales through HDMA-member traditional primary distributors reached nearly $305 billion in 2013, according to the 85th Edition HDMA Factbook (2014-2015), published by HDMA’s non-profit research foundation, the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research. This number reflects a nearly 2 percent increase from the previous year. Additionally, more than 90 percent of pharmaceutical sales are completed through HDMA pharmaceutical distributors.

Published annually, the HDMA Factbook is a comprehensive resource illustrating traditional distributor performance metrics and trends in the pharmaceutical supply chain, with data collected at the corporate-level of HDMA’s membership and reputable secondary sources. The book provides insights into such areas as distributor demographics and characteristics, finance, operations, information systems, customers and market characteristics, as well as international distribution.

This 2014–2015 edition is produced with support from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Apotex Corporation; RDC-Rochester Drug Cooperative, Inc.; TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; Ranbaxy Inc.; Smith Drug Company, Div. J M Smith Corporation; and, Pharmacy First.

“The new Factbook provides a unique snapshot of the work that goes into delivering healthcare to millions of people each day,” said Jeff Watson, President, Apotex Corp., and Chairman of the Center’s Board of Directors. “It is a useful resource for anybody seeking to learn about the dynamics of the pharmaceutical industry, and Apotex is pleased to support this valuable research.”

As reported by IMS Health, total U.S. spending on pharmaceuticals also increased, reaching $329 billion in 2013 from $319.1 billion in 2012. For distributors, specifically, prescription products continue to make up the majority of their net sales, accounting for 98 percent. Of these prescription product sales, branded prescription products were unchanged from 2012 at 64 percent; brand-name specialty products accounted for nearly 21 percent of sales; and, unlike previous years of growth, generic sales decreased slightly to 13 percent.

HDMA traditional distributors kept an average inventory of nearly 56,000 SKUs in 2013, received from nearly 1,400 manufacturers. On a typical day, more than 98,000 units were picked per distribution center (each order having an average of nine lines picked), with nearly 5,000 orders handled. 83 percent of distributors use automated picking methods. Approximately 15 million prescription medicines and healthcare products are delivered by distributors each business day.

“HDMA-member distributors continue to provide value in the pharmaceutical supply chain by delivering millions of products each business day with accuracy and efficiency,” said Karen J. Ribler, Executive Vice President and COO of the Center. “With the impending regulatory requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, it will be interesting to see the dynamics of the industry evolve as new technologies are introduced.”


The HDA Research Foundation is the 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization of the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA). The Foundation serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on healthcare supply chain issues. The Foundation’s mission is to conduct research and disseminate information that will enhance the knowledge base, efficiency and effectiveness of the total healthcare supply chain; and to provide thought leadership to further enhance the safety and security of the healthcare supply chain through future-focused study and programming.


HDA is the national association representing primary healthcare distributors, the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers. Each business day, HDA member companies ensure that over 15 million prescription medicines and healthcare products are delivered safely and efficiently to more than 200,000 pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. HDA and its members work daily to provide value and achieve cost savings, an estimated $42 billion each year to our nation’s healthcare system.


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