Merged distributors emerge

Thursday, October 31, 2002

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. - It's taken a couple of years, but the repercussions for home care in the 2000 merger between Bergen Brunswig and Amerisource are finally sorting themselves out.

In August, AmerisourceBergen (AB) unveiled the infrastructure of its sales organization, naming seven regional directors in its home healthcare business, a new product development manager and a new marketing manager.

The new sales organization replaces Bergen Brunswig's Today's Healthcare initiative and Amerisource's Total Home Healthcare in a combined effort that'll be known as AmerisourceBergen Home Healthcare.

About 60% of the business unit's sales are generated by pharmacies that offer HME products and services; the remaining 40% is a mix that come largely from stand-alone HME and long-term care facilities.

Each of the new seven regional directors will manage sales in seven distinct geographical regions, coordinating efforts between three separate sales forces that call on retail stores, health systems and alternate site sales.

The regional directors "will direct, help, coach and train those folks to go out and go after the durable and soft goods business in each of their respective sales areas," said G.J. Walley, AB's national director of home healthcare.

Just prior to the announcement of the new sales force, AB published a 266-page catalog, which represents a combination of the reltionships Bergen had with vendors and Amerisource had with vendors.

Bergen's annual catalog used to come in at about 216 pages, and Walley expects next year's edition will be as slim.

"We'll be looking at all the manufacturing relationships and making those tough decisions," said Walley. "You can carry three or four or five different types of similar products, but you can't carry 40. That doesn't make good business sense."

To narrow and enhance its product pipeline, AB has hired Ken Genovesi as director of product development.

Genovesi spent the last 10 years as director of materials management for NovaCare, responsible for managing distribution and procurement activities HME, rehabilitation, orthotics and prosthetics.

As the new regional directors cultivate their new turf, one of their first missions will involve the development of programs for their Rx/HME customer base.

"We want them to go out and come back and tell us what programs we really need to respond to," said Walley. "We have several that we know and think our customers want. These folks will be to validate those in the field and then we'll present them around Medtrade."

The new regional directors are Don Phillips, Northeast Region; Rob Smith, Northwest Region; Claude Garland, Southwest Region; Bob Rodriguez, South Central Region; Mike Barrett, North Central Region; Sandy McDonald, Midwest Region; and Mary Elizabeth Peavy, Southeast Region. Jennifer Kelly is AB Home Healthcare's new marketing manager. HME