As the logistics experts of healthcare, distributors deliver millions of prescription medicines and healthcare products to hundreds of thousands of providers, including pharmacies, hospitals and healthcare facilities, across the country. But their relationships with these customers is about more than just delivery — distributors offer additional services that allow their customers to focus on patients and remain competitive in the marketplace.
From large hospital systems to independent pharmacies, healthcare providers manage inventory for a wide range of healthcare products — including common over-the-counter medications and complex specialty products that have unique storage and handling needs. The logistics expertise and shipping and inventory technologies provided by distributors streamline these critical processes and ensure medicines are in stock when and where patients need them.
Before a patient even drops off a prescription, pharmacies use distributors’ forecasting tools to manage inventory and maintain a steady supply of high-demand items. When healthcare providers need to order specialty products, distributors’ innovative online order management systems ensure that even the most complex products arrive safely and securely, and as early as the next day. By working with distributors, healthcare providers can maintain “just-in-time” inventories, saving them time and money to focus more directly on patients.
Pharmaceutical distributors also serve as critical financial partners to healthcare providers, extending lines of credit to help bridge the gap between when facilities dispense medicines to a patient and when they are later reimbursed by a patient’s health plan. Especially for small, independent pharmacies, the ability to finance inventory is a vital service that provides financial security and prevents gaps in service. The support of distributors as a financial intermediary is critical in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Further, pharmaceutical distributors manage and maintain complex contract administration and “chargeback” systems for their manufacturer suppliers and health system customers. These sophisticated verification and reverse claims processing capabilities allow manufacturers and providers to ensure products are being purchased at the correct price. Each year, hundreds of millions of chargeback transactions are exchanged and processed, with the vast majority of transactions complete within a few days.
Pharmacy Management Services
As true partners, distributors also provide customized support, helping their customers to better serve patients and grow their business. Whether it is new multi-dose pharmaceutical packaging that increases medication adherence or customized business management solutions, such as printing services to help independent pharmacies stand out from the competition, there is no challenge too small for pharmaceutical distributors to make a difference.
No matter what challenges providers face, pharmaceutical distributors are there to help them navigate change, optimize business performance, implement the latest technology and learn about new trends.
To learn more about how pharmaceutical distributors serve as critical partners to pharmacists and other healthcare providers, visit: www.hda.org/OurRole.
ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE DISTRIBUTION ALLIANCE
The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, safely and efficiently. The HDA Research Foundation, HDA’s non-profit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.