Can a pharmacy be a wholesaler?

Who can have a prescription medication? Enter the word pharmaceutical distribution. Distributors, also known as wholesalers, function like the grocery stores of the pharmaceutical world. They have all the medicines and over-the-counter items your pharmacy needs to maintain a full inventory. The proposed Rule proposes to codify the FDA's existing informal recognition of the 5 percent “minimum quantity” rule, which states that pharmacies can sell up to 5 percent of their total annual prescription drug sales volume to professionals licensed for office use, and such pharmacies not be considered wholesalers based on those sales.

But many pharmacies don't understand the complex undertaking of the wholesale pricing model, Balcom said. Balcom said the biggest challenge for pharmacies when choosing a major wholesaler today is that they need to be willing to break down all elements of that business relationship. For McKesson, its franchise network of independent pharmacies, known as Health Mart, differentiates the company. And pharmacies need to make sure that what they negotiated in advance is what they will get after the fact.

Similarly, the FDA says that while some states have expanded the exemption to include pharmacy sales to entities other than licensed practitioners for office use, the legal language of FDCA Section 503 (e) (E) prohibits FDA from adopting the same expansion. Smith offers everything you would expect from a major wholesaler, and it also provides pharmacies with the tools and resources needed to improve the operational side of their businesses, achieve sustained relevance, and drive quality results. And, Balcom said, it's important for pharmacies to look for a reliable contract structure that works for both them and the wholesaler. Increased competition from domestic pharmacy chains and reduced margins due to declining reimbursements create challenges for independent pharmacies.

Therefore, wholesalers with accreditation of drug distributors are licensed, up to date with the NABP, and trusted to safely distribute prescription drugs from manufacturers to pharmacies. Co-located pharmacies and wholesale distributors are subject to additional scrutiny, which may require additional documentation to demonstrate compliance with state and federal laws and the drug distributor accreditation criteria listed below. PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies achieve their full potential on the purchasing side of their business. Pharmacies will access the secondary market to try to relieve some of the pressure, Meriweather said, when they can ease it simply by maximizing the primary agreement they already have.

Lanctot said that if pharmacies can commit to shorter payment terms and pay their bills on time, the wholesaler can provide them with a better inventory cost.

Rachel Celli
Rachel Celli

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