Small Distributors – What You Should Know

Small Distributors – What You Should Know
Understanding the crucial role small distributors play in the pharmaceutical distribution landscape

What role does a small distributor play in the health care distribution system?

Small distributors fill an important need in the market. Reliance Wholesale, Inc. and other reputable secondary distributors serve hospitals and health care providers that have urgent needs that cannot be filled by larger wholesalers. Reliance provides drugs for hospitals and pharmacies in rural locations that receive limited or no service from large wholesalers. Reliance can also provide emergency and after hour deliveries with no order cut off times. The company also helps hospitals and pharmacies find product they cannot get from designated primary wholesalers.

How do small distributors access drugs that others in the supply chain cannot in shortage situations?

Small distributors purchase products from a manufacturer, a wholesaler or from other small distributors. Because small distributors work with vast networks of licensed pharmaceutical distributors, they are able to find products that health care providers cannot. For example, if a primary wholesaler is out of a product, a hospital often cannot wait for a manufacturer, who provides all product to a primary wholesaler, to re-stock. Instead, the provider can come to a small distributor, who can leverage an established relationship with a national, licensed and verified vendor network to secure available product already in the market. This saves a buyer time and avoids the need for multiple vendor accounts at a facility.

Why are these drugs more expensive than on-contract drugs?

Recent reports have compared the cost hospitals pay for medicine under GPO contracts to the price they would pay for medicine from a small distributor. Because small distributors are not included in the GPO contracting process, they cannot buy or sell products at GPO prices, and they do not receive rebates from manufacturers for selling product below wholesale acquisition cost. To stay in business, a small distributor must include a reasonable mark-up over the cost it pays for the drug to cover labor and other overhead expenses.

How can hospitals ensure that products provided by secondary distributors are safe?

Like other small distributors, Reliance is licensed and compliant with all federal and state laws, including updates on industry changes, pedigree regulation and track-and-trace technologies. Furthermore, Reliance has earned Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor (VAWD) certification from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). VAWD is an accreditation, established by a special task force for the NABP, for pharmaceutical wholesale distribution facilities. VAWD accreditation plays a pivotal role in assuring best practices in wholesale distribution of pharmaceuticals, through annual audits and inspections every three years. This accreditation sets Reliance apart from many other vendors in the market, and is something in which the company takes great pride.

What sets Reliance apart from other distributors?

While many companies specialize in delivering hard-to-find pharmaceuticals and those in short supply, Reliance finds and delivers these products differently. Reliance is an ethical and reliable leader in specialty distribution because of the company’s ability to:

• Utilize a verified network of wholesalers and distributors to more effectively access a particular drug at any given time;
• Respond to customers with their orders overnight, and sometimes even on the same day;
• Retain the utmost product integrity; and VAWD Accreditation
• Provide a pedigree for each and every product

What kind of company is Reliance?

Reliance opened its doors in 2003 in South Florida. Today, Reliance has offices and distribution centers in both Florida and Tennessee. The company employs a staff of 32 individuals and has an executive management team with nearly 30 years of experience in the health care industry.

Outside of the office, Reliance team members are committed to giving back to the community by volunteering with various charitable organizations throughout South Florida and Tennessee. Employees have volunteered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Wounded Warrior Project, Habitat for Humanity and Legal Services of Greater Miami, among others.

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