With diabetes on the rise in the U.S., diabetic products and supplies like glucose monitors and test strips are in high demand. As Pat Whiteman learned, Pharmacy Wholesale Services is committed to providing quality diagnostic products at competitive prices despite ever increasing healthcare costs.
Pharmacy Wholesale Services Inc. has established itself as one of the most reliable, and cost conscious wholesale services around. The company provides diabetic and other medical supplies to both the domestic and international markets and reaches a variety of patrons including hospitals, nursing homes, durable medical equipment stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores, army bases and other wholesale companies. This wholesale whiz carries a wide array of products and a whole host of instantly recognizable name brands.
With five offices – in Bejing and Shanghai, China; New York; Miami; and its headquarters in Montreal, Canada – Pharmacy Wholesale Services Inc. expertly distributes its brand name and private label healthcare products and has become a leading distributor of blood glucose diagnostics. The company excels by maintaining significant inventories far exceeding industry levels and uses state-of-the-art technology to expedite distribution. Training is also continually provided to personnel in all departments and locations to improve service levels.
“It’s a highly competitive business environment,” says George Jason Ravette, Director of Sales and Marketing for Pharmacy Wholesale Services, Inc. “In these times of ever increasing healthcare costs, we take the responsibility of providing quality products at competitive pricing seriously. We are strategically positioned in the market place to offer our products below the wholesale average cost (WAC). And we’re always striving to facilitate solutions to exceed our customer’s expectations.”
Part of this company’s success is owed to its excellent, diverse workforce. “At Pharmacy Wholesale Services, Inc. we know that every employee, no matter what role they play or how long they have been with the company, is essential to our success,” says Ravette. “We are committed to nurturing an atmosphere in which creative thinking thrives and employees develop to their full potential. We have a fully equipped fitness facility on site which employees are encouraged to utilize at any time. Our work environment inspires ideas and energies and recognizes people for their contributions and we pride ourselves on the learning, development and opportunities provided our employees.”
Over 18 million Americans have type 2 diabetes mellitus (adult onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes). With the baby boomer generation aging, the occurrence of diabetes is clearly increasing in the United States and it is estimated that approximately one-third of those afflicted with the disease don’t even know they have it. Diabetes is especially common in certain ethnic groups (Latinos, African-Americans and Native Americans) where it affects up to 26 percent of certain population segments.
Type 2 diabetes, (unlike its counterpart Type 1 diabetes or juvenile-onset or insulin dependent diabetes), is usually found in individuals who are 40 years-of-age or older and overweight. In type 2 diabetes, insulin does not work effectively; therefore, the insulin produced by the pancreas is not sufficient to keep the blood sugar level normal, and the body’s cells are unable to properly use glucose.
“The facts are sobering, indeed,” says Ravette. “The rate of diabetes is expected to double within the next 25 years. The disease is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and lower extremity amputation and people with diabetes are two to five times more likely to have coronary artery disease or a stroke. Not only has diabetes become an epidemic it has also become a $100 billion dollar industry.”
Helping Independent Pharmacies
With the understanding of the seriousness of the disease and the needs of diabetic patients, Pharmacy Wholesale Services Inc. first began selling lancets to aid patients in testing their glucose levels. It continued to do its research into the diabetes epidemic and found a problem. The independent pharmacies in the United States, just 25,000 in all, were dwindling – and fast. “A lot of people depend on these independent pharmacies for their supplies but we found they were slowly getting squeezed out. These pharmacies were struggling to remain profitable and we decided we could help,” says Ravette. “So we got to work to see what else we could offer them to help them remain competitive against the chains and superstore type pharmacies.”
Most of the time, the test strips that people with diabetes use to test blood glucose are not usually paid for by the patient. The cost is covered by the insurance company and then the insurance company reimburses the pharmacy. “What we found was the independent pharmacies throughout the United States were getting less reimbursement, and therefore, were suffering the consequences,” says Ravette. “The major manufacturers are making considerable profit on their products, so it gives us a little bit of wiggle room and the ability to pass along savings to the independent pharmacies. To pass along the savings, we try to be as cost efficient as possible where overhead is concerned. Utilizing volume philosophy, Pharmacy Wholesale Services is helping the independent pharmacist stay
Measured by Meter
While Pharmacy Wholesale Services Inc. distributes a variety of glucose meters and test strips, it also desired to enter into the marketplace with its own product. The company will soon be launching its own glucose monitor complete with corresponding test strips. The R&D project to develop the meter began in the company’s Shanghai office and the advertising – the name and design of the packaging – was created in the U.S. The company is excited about the launch and is confident its new product will stand up to those offered by other major manufacturers.
“Many brand name meters are very expensive; up to $70. We’ve come up with a meter that is equal in quality but we will be offering it to our customers at no charge. We have a national advertising campaign in place to effectively launch this new product as well, nothing works better than good old fashioned word of mouth.” The company also offers products under its own brand Pharmatrue, which has been readily accepted within the industry at both the pharmacy and wholesale level.
Company president and CEO, Douglas Parker Rudderham, states, “To say I am pleased with the company’s evolution would be an understatement. However, we do not intend to rest on our laurels. That’s a lesson history has taught many companies in this industry. We are working diligently to develop new products and services in order to continue our current rate of growth. I am most confident that with the caliber of our employees, their amazing commitment and efforts to date coupled with the company’s profit incentive program, our company continues to be well positioned for sustained growth.”
Whether its developing new products or purchasing products, in the very competitive business of wholesale medical supplies, Pharmacy Wholesale Services Inc. always has to stay on its toes. “We carry very large inventories. This assures we always have products on hand for customers. It makes a difference. That’s where a lot of companies fall short,” says Ravette. “We are more dependable, I believe, because of our well-established resources and distribution expertise. In this business it’s all about getting the product the customer requires to them as fast as possible. That’s always our number one goal.”