Value Drug’s Modico Brothers Reflect on Nearly 50 Years in Healthcare Distribution

June 24, 2024

Value Drug Company (Value Drug) was formed in 1934 as a wholesaler cooperative of 19 independent pharmacies. Over the past 90 years, the company has diversified and modernized its offerings and operations to continue enabling its member pharmacies to prosper.

As the company celebrates this significant anniversary, we spoke with brothers Sam and Dave Modico, who have been along for about half of Value Drug’s years in business. Since joining the company nearly 50 years ago, the Modicos witnessed firsthand how Value Drug evolved to support its independent pharmacy customers, and ultimately patients.

Sam Modico (left); Dave Modico (right)

In the latest installments of HDA’s Faces of the Supply Chain series, which showcases the people making the healthcare supply chain work, we spoke with the brothers about their decades in distribution and the meaning behind their work.

Getting Their Start

Dave joined Value Drug in 1976 after hearing about the position from "a guy I had graduated high school with, his father was Mike the barber, [and] his father told my father." Dave then shared the opportunity with his brother, and when Sam was onboarded, "[The president] told me I had to get my brother there on time, that really didn’t work, but he kept me anyway."

In those earlier years, Value Drug operated as other wholesale distributors, with "handwritten [orders] from the pharmacist" — and, as Dave reflected, "some of them did not have the best handwriting." The order fulfillment work was also very hands-on, as Dave further recalled, "When our customers came in to pick up their orders, we had to load their cars; they were usually family members of the pharmacists from the different local drugstores."

Sam similarly shared, "Everything was by hand. There was no automation, for a while no computers, you knew where everything was [located in the warehouse]. They had a sheet [of paper] that you went by to fill the orders."

Evolving With the Industry

Soon, technological developments available within the sector changed the company’s operations. For the brothers and their colleagues, Dave explained this meant, "moving into a bigger facility with computers, electric material handling machines ... and we still did a lot of the same work, but we had the assistance of machinery and computers, and eventually we evolved into some automation with automatic picking machines and [ordering retrieval systems]." During this time of modernization, Dave was promoted to a supervisory role as the distribution warehouse manager. Now, Dave shared, "an order can go through our system without even being touched by human hands, so it’s a major difference."

Sam was also promoted to innovation manager due to this modernization, charged with "looking at every aspect of the company and trying to make it more efficient ... monitoring the automation to make sure it’s running smoothly ... just finding ways to do things better."

Reflecting on a Rewarding Career

While plenty has changed for the brothers during their time with Value Drug, they continue to find a greater purpose in their work. As Sam underscored, "When I come to work every day, I realize that what we do is important. Getting people what they need when they need it ... it’s very important and it means a lot to get that done."

Further, supporting independent pharmacies remains paramount to Value Drug’s mission, as Dave explained, "[T]he big picture with Value [Drug] is they’re trying to help the independent pharmacies compete and stay in business. It is getting more difficult to compete with some of the large chains, but with Value [Drug] ... They really try to go to the next level looking [out] for the future of the independent pharmacy business."

Both brothers praised the culture of Value Drug as a rewarding environment. As Sam said, "It’s a good company, they try their best to do what’s best for their customers, for the employees. They’re always trying to do things the right way, so it’s a good place to work."

An Evolving Supply Chain

As the company recognizes 90 years of service to the pharmacy community, Greg Drew, RPh, President of Value Drug, discussed the brothers’ impact, "These guys just have a dedication, an institutional knowledge, they embody the culture that we strive for … we, like the rest of the industry, have made some significant upgrades, both in technology and automation, security in the supply chain, [etc.]. These guys … to have them be as on board with our evolution as they were, made it a success."

Value Drug’s transformation, and the Modicos’ experience, are excellent examples of how the distribution industry has effectively evolved to meet changing customer needs. We look forward to seeing the company’s continued adaptability and resilience for years to come.

To learn more about Dave and Sam, visit the Multimedia Library to watch the video interviews.

For more information about the value of healthcare distribution and support for pharmacies, visit the Health Delivered webpages.