RDI chief resigns; rumors run crazy

Sunday, July 31, 2005

FOLEY, Ala. -- RDI Global Solution President and CEO Keith Trowbridge resigned from the company on July 1 amid rumors of financial distress that could make RDI a casualty of changes in the Medicare respiratory medications market.
Trowbridge, who joined RDI in June 2004, told HME News he left the company to pursue other opportunities.
"I am working on some ideas, but nothing is firm at this point," he said.
Previous to his short tenure at RDI, Trowbridge served as president of Liberty Medical Supply for five years. During that time, Trowbridge helped build Liberty Home Pharmacy and grew the company's revenues from $100 million to $450 million.
RDI, which has undergone extensive changes this year including moving into vial manufacturing, has also become tangled in rumors that bankruptcy is knocking on its door.
Sun Capital Partners, the private investment firm that bought RDI in March 2004, had no comment on the company's financial outlook. Industry sources, however, said the company has laid off much of its sales force and made some serious miscalculations in the face of 2005's MMA-mandated respiratory cuts.
Some of the alleged problems have trickled down to RDI's customers.
"They have always had such great service, but in the last couple of weeks it seems things have slowed down," said one RDI customer who asked not to be named. "It's been hard to get phone calls returned. Their service now is what I would call average in the industry whereas before it was superb."
Speculations about the company's problems surround its decision to begin its own vial business after ending its contract with Acadiana Plastics this winter. Industry insiders say this focus on compounding vials could not have come at a worse time since the MMA's cuts have driven business toward brand name respiratory drugs, like DuoNeb and Xopenex.
"In the past, they remained neutral [between brand and compounded drugs], but now they started buying in China, molding vials over there," said one source. "They made a tremendous cash outlay to do that. Their attempt was to control all the vial business while the vial business was drying up. It was a horrible decision to make a move in that direction."
RDI first made headlines when it got into financial trouble in 2001. Then, its president, Richard Powell, was sentenced to one year and a day in prison for his role is a fraud scheme. RDI-Druggist was also sentenced to five years probation. The Department of Justice charged Druggist with paying kickbacks and filing false claims and ordered it to pay $105,000 in restitution.