IDG offers Ritedose of help

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – It’s not easy being a smaller provider of nebulizer medications in the world of “Big Pharma.”

That’s why Inhalation Drug Group (IDG), a group purchasing organization, has rolled out a program targeting these smaller providers, giving them access to volume discount pricing, extended terms and sampling programs.

“We’re reaching out to the smaller end, because they’re almost the more important players,” said Wayne Vega, senior executive vice president of IDG and a registered pharmacist. “Yet it’s an aberration—pharma doesn’t see DME as pharma.”

Making the program possible: a contract with Ritedose Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of The Ritedose Corp. Late last year, IDG began managing Ritedose’s line of unit dose respiratory inhalation products for the special DME supplier pharmacy market.

Specific perks of the program include 60-day terms, depending on the drug. That’s compared to the more typical 10- to 14-day terms or, at most, 30-day terms, Vega says.

“There are cash-flow issues for these providers,” he said. “They purchase and dispense the product, and then they wait for Medicare payments and audits. That’s not how things work in the real pharma space.”

Provider Bill Hewlett can attest to the difficulty of being a small provider of neb-meds. He got out of the market in 2009 for a variety of reasons, including roller-coaster Medicare reimbursement based on an ASP methodology and pricing gimmicks from drug manufacturers like rebate programs.

“I can see where some type of program, almost like a buying group, would have been helpful,” said Hewlett, founder and CEO of Legacy Oxygen & Home Care Equipment in Murray, Ky.

Having a GPO behind it has been invaluable for provider Les DeFelice, a member of The MED Group, which is owned by Managed Health Care Associates.

“They’ve helped us to continue providing respiratory medications when much of the rest of the industry has exited,” said DeFelice, founder and president of DeFeliceCare in Wheeling, West Va. “We’re glad we’re in it. It allows us to be a more broad-based provider.”