It’s trying times, these days, for pharmaceutical wholesalers and distributors: although they’ve mostly dodged the arguing over drug pricing and profit (that has focused more closely on the PBMs—who have their own ongoing value-promotion campaign), they are being raked over the coals because of opioid misuse. Legislation that would disrupt—to put it mildly—existing sales and distribution patterns are in the offing, in Washington and at state capitals throughout the US. So, it makes sense for HDA to make its case for the value it provides to healthcare to a wide public, and most certainly including those legislators writing new laws.
The association has opened a new website, HealthDelivered.org, to this end. That site will have updates and stories “that bring to life the work distributors do every day,” according to a news release. Additionally, a series of digital campaigns, headlined as “That’s a Great Question,” to explain wholesaler/distributor activity. This campaign will run in various markets and specifically in Washington, DC.
“Pharmaceutical distributors are the backbone of the supply chain,” states John Gray, president and CEO of HDA. “Our industry enables the safe and secure delivery of medicines so licensed healthcare providers, pharmacists and other healthcare facilities nationwide can focus on providing care to the millions of patients they serve.”
There’s no question that, for the general public, how pharmaceuticals get to their local pharmacy or hospital are a black box. Business reporters who should know better like to point out that the Big Three wholesalers each have revenues approaching $200 billion, without noting that that some 95%+ of revenue is spent in drug purchasing and overhead. And while primary distribution (from manufacturer directly to wholesaler) is dominated by the Big Three, there are hundreds and possibly thousands of other distributors handling drugs as well. (Little known fact: many manufacturers, to meet state regulations, also need to be licensed as distributors.) Still, in the current, highly charged environment, HDA’s voice will be one of many shouting to be heard.