- The need for efficient drug procurement and delivery has never been more in demand
- Trxade Group’s unmatched supply chain trading platform represents a unique portal to speeding up drug distribution
- Such efficiencies are key to improving margins and keeping America’s independent pharmacies alive
Not in recent memory have medical services and associated support personnel been viewed as more vital to the nation. Just as indispensable, but not as visible, are the supply chain channels through which medical supplies flow, for doctors without medicines may be so handicapped as to be useless. So too would be pharmacies where the bulk of medicines are dispensed. As a result, it is crucial that these supply chain channels operate efficiently.
One company has been working specifically toward that end. Trxade Group (NASDAQ: MEDS) has developed an integrated drug procurement and delivery platform that is improving supply chain and market efficiency, speeding up distribution of drugs while also ensuring critical transparency on prices. This is good news for independent pharmacies; direct dealing on the platform will lead to improved margins. And consumers will undoubtedly welcome the platform’s price discovery capabilities. The Trxade digital pharmaceutical exchange is set to shakeup the staid drug distribution business.
Trxade’s web-based platform has something for everyone. Patients will benefit from the lower prices its algorithms identify, while pharmacies are now more likely to avoid negative reimbursement costs, which flatten profit margins. Close to half the number of independent pharmacies operating across the nation are registered users on the Trxade platform. The company expects 2019’s signup rate—8 or 9 new pharmacies every day—to continue throughout 2020. There is good reason for those expectations. For a long time, America’s independent pharmacies haven’t been getting a good deal.
The U.S. pharmaceutical industry is a sprawling system made up of around 65,000 pharmacies. Most are branches of the large chains. A recent report provides a snapshot of the landscape (http://nnw.fm/5F8lR). CVS Pharmacy, the largest, employs 18,631 pharmacists in close to 9,105 stores. Walgreens has 17,437 pharmacists working in its 7,713 or so stores, while Rite Aid with its 4,515 stores employs 9,194 pharmacists. Walmart has less stores (4,403) than Rite Aid but employs more pharmacists (10,458). This colossal operation moves around $330 billion worth of pharmaceuticals per annum. But most of the business goes to the giant chains with their thousands of retail outlets and their ability to capture significant excess margin at the cost of the consumer, employers and government.
This leaves about one-third of the nation’s pharmacies that are run independently, that do not belong to a large corporate chain. These smaller independent pharmacies tend, on average, to be $3.5 million-per-annum enterprises owned and managed, typically, owner operated vocational pharmacists. Predictably, they struggle to stay afloat, surviving on thin margins that continuously pose an existential threat.
The presence of pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”) hasn’t really helped. These third party administrators of prescription drug programs were expected to reduce the purchase costs of drugs across the board and they have but the benefits have accrued to a select few. The three largest PBMs— Caremark (CVS Health) / Aetna, Express Scripts, OptumRx (UnitedHealth)—now control 76 percent of the market. And, as the Brookings Institution has pointed out in testimony to Congress, “health care markets are becoming more consolidated, causing price increases for purchasers of health services…” (http://nnw.fm/L35ua).
However, Trxade’s pharmaceutical platform gives independent pharmacies a real shot at reducing their purchasing costs, and much more. The integrated pharmaceutical services company offers not just a web-based purchasing platform for transactions between independent pharmacists and drug distributors (“B2B”), but a network of associated pharmacies with its E-Hub software, and a mail order pharmacy, as well as warehouse and drug delivery services.
Called the Trxade Exchange, the platform gives small pharmacies access to the wider pharmaceutical distribution network, allowing them to search for and view products from manufacturers, buying groups, and wholesalers on a real-time and continuous basis. Trxade is hoping that the majority of America’s 24,000 independent pharmacies, who which together have a combined annual purchasing power of over $92 billion, will eventually see how Trxade’s supportive platform that can make their businesses more profitable.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.TrxadeGroup.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to MEDS are available in the company’s newsroom at http://nnw.fm/MEDS
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