Tips for Choosing a Reverse Distributor for Pharmaceutical Returns

We know that choosing a reverse distributor isn’t something that keeps you up at night.  With patient safety issues, drug shortages, and budget challenges to worry about, it just doesn’t take priority.  You run the numbers, choose a vendor, save the returns, recapture a fraction of the money you already spent and the cycle continues….

But before you make your final decision, consider these three tips for choosing a Reverse Distributor.  Heck, you don’t want to add pharmaceutical returns to your list of things that keep you up at night…

1. Ask what is included in the quoted fee.

Find out what is included in the processing service fee you’ve been quoted.  Is it all-inclusive with no hidden costs?  If this is the case, it eliminates any add-on fees such as shipping labels, shipping costs (to and from the Reverse Distributor) and disposal of non-creditable, hazardous and non-hazardous products. 

Also, ask questions to determine if the processing of controls (including the preparation of the DEA 222 form) and destruction of controls (including DEA 41 forms) is included at no additional cost. 

2. Focus on Reporting – it’s critical.

When choosing a Reverse Distributor you should always look for reports that provide a complete overview on pharmaceutical returns.    Unlike the old days, reports are not just used for returnable and non-returnable products. 

The reporting features should allow the pharmacy to take the proper steps to increase their returnable product and ultimately decrease the waste from their inventory.   Reporting features should also reflect reasons why product is non-returnable, a breakdown of credits obtained and other data analytic tools to identify trends within your facility.   

Ask for a sample of reports that clearly outline the type of tools you will have access to as a customer.  

3. Know the Company They Keep.

Getting the maximum amount of credits for customers is tied to a Reverse Distributor’s wholesaler & manufacturer relationships.  Long term relationships between a Reverse Distributor and partners enable the Reverse Distributor to be more successful when advocating on a pharmacy’s behalf to obtain the most amounts of credits.  Ask the following questions:

How many different manufacturers do they process? How do they keep up with policy changes?  Compare answers amongst the Reverse Distributors you are considering.

Do they have relationships with manufacturers that allow them to destroy and report processed product data?  If they don’t, ask why.  A Reverse Distributor that has these relationships in place is highly regarded and trusted by their partners.  In addition, it allows the Reverse Distributor to keep overall costs lower which translates into savings for their customers.

What is their process for following up with manufacturers who have not provided disposition for products and or credit for your returns products? All Reverse Distributors can claim that they can achieve more credit than the next one, but the truth will be found in the experience, SOP’s, and most importantly, how and when fees are assessed & collected. Look for a Reverse Distributor that has a department dedicated to tracking, documenting and collecting manufacturer credits. The onus is on the Reverse Distributor to collect as much credit as possible for the pharmacy.

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