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Get to know your suppliers

Regular updates are key to effective purchasing

October 24th 2017

Tagged: DDA news Conference news

By Charles Gladwin

Practices should build good relationships with their wholesaler, and use the knowledge and support they can bring to your account, said Rachael Balcombe.

As the purchasing manager for a rural practice in Brigg, Lincolnshire, she is responsible for products for approximately 12,500 patients and a hybrid 100-hour pharmacy with branch surgery/pharmacy. As part of the business model, the practice holds both wholesaler distribution and home office licences.

Make sure you have regular updates with your account managers, she advised:

· check for new and removed schemes;

· check that schemes are still maintaining the level of discount you should be receiving;

· optimise training and education events for your team;

· use the conversation to solve problem such as quotas, delivery issues, and supply chain problems;

· ask for updates on patent expiry;

· understand your statements and rebates.

If you are using several wholesalers and short liners in your supply chain, “make sure that you are not oversubscribed and paying for more than you need to,” said Ms Balcombe. “There is no perfect answer to this as each practice has its own individual priorities. Just consider that the membership fees should be less than the benefits.”

In addition, meet with pharmaceutical sales reps. “They are a valuable resource to your business. Take the time to sit down with them. They may be able to give support in training events, QIPP, QOF, DSQS, and help role out medicine changes. They can provide evidence-based statistical and educational data.”

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