Most of you have a main medication supplier, typically one of the three major wholesalers. Studies have shown that “normally”, about 95% of your medication needs are met by one of these large medication suppliers. However, we have not seen “normal” medication supply in many years; a result of record shortages five years in a row. More and more of our time is spent looking for critical medications from other suppliers.
How do you vet these alternative suppliers? Three critical areas that must be addressed:
- Licensure. Your supplier should carry the appropriate licensure to handle and ship medication to your facility. The supplier should either be licensed by the FDA or hold pharmacy/distribution licenses in their home state as well as the state where you reside. Ask for copies.
- Pedigree. Can the supplier provide documentation that your medication originated at the licensed manufacturer? They should be able to prove who handled the medication from the time it left the manufacturer to the time it arrived in your facility. Sometimes the med will come to your supplier directly from the manufacturer and other times there are middlemen.
- Storage conditions. Make sure the supplier properly stores and secures the medication prior to shipping it to you. Temperature and humidity should be monitored 24 hours a day. Drug products should not be co-mingled with other non-drug items. Only trained, authorized personnel should have access to medications. Ask the supplier for proof of required environmental monitoring.
If you are the person in charge of ordering medications at your facility, you understand that once the med arrives in your facility, you are responsible. Make sure you have performed adequate due diligence in selecting all of your medication suppliers.