Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

What Is a Pharmaceutical Wholesaler?

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

Pass savings along to customers and clients with wholesale pharmaceuticals.

  • Wholesale drug distributors purchase large quantities of medications at low prices and sell them at a profit to pharmacies.
  • Wholesale drug distributors follow two different pricing models to make money: a full-line wholesaler and specialty wholesaler.
  • Wholesale drug distributors retail prescription medications, but also make profits from over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements.

What is a wholesale drug distributor?

Wholesale drug distributors purchase medications directly from manufacturers. The wholesale drug distributor in turn sells the medications to pharmacies. The United States Food and Drug Administration urges all consumers to validate the licenses of wholesale drug distributors. Each state has a specific agency responsible for licensing wholesale drug distributors. This is extremely important for consumer protection. Without a license, a wholesale drug distributor may be linked to serious offenses, including counterfeit prescriptions and unapproved medication distribution. Any websites with taglines like "no prescription pharmacy" is likely operating without a license.

There are two main types of business models that wholesale drug distributors are categorized by. Full-line wholesalers will purchase a company's complete product line. In contracts between manufacturers and distributors, certain medications may be excluded. On average, pharmacies make up 75% of distributors' profits . The latter type of wholesale drug distributor is the specialized company. For these companies, they purchase specialty drugs to sell to clinics and hospitals.

How do drug wholesalers make money?

Drug distributors make money by following a concise business model: buy medications at low prices in bulk quantities and sell them to customers and pharmacies at an increased market price. The distributors' income comes from the pricing difference between what they paid and what the medications were sold for. The consumer typically pays the most through the supply chain since pharmacies will also need to make a profit from medications. Consumers are finding that purchasing directly from a distributor instead of a pharmacy can cut overall medication costs. Wholesalers still make a profit from direct sales, but retails the products to patients instead of pharmacies. Since specialty drugs make up about 30% of wholesale revenue, this business model has experienced significant growth over the past two years.

Pass savings along to customers and clients with wholesale pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical wholesale products provide savings to clients and customers. Whether you're in pharmaceutical retail, pharmaceutical supply or home health care, providing the best quality products and services at reasonable prices is the goal.

Health care is expensive for consumers and pharmaceutical suppliers. A trusted pharmaceutical wholesaler keeps costs low, inventory high and gives better buying power to clients. Pharmaceutical wholesalers also provide products for the pharmaceutical retailer. With everything from pain relievers to motor oil available in pharmacies, it's important to get the best product prices for your retail pharmacy. Wholesale vitamins are big sellers. Pharmacies compete with big box stores, vitamin shops and health food stores for consumer dollars. Getting customers to think of the pharmacy first when purchasing vitamins is a challenge.

Home health care providers rely on wholesale pharmacy supplies for medical equipment, wound care and sterile fields. Wholesale surgical gloves, sterile syringes, bandages and other supplies save patients money.

Pharmaceutical wholesale suppliers will

  1. Provide savings on pharmaceutical supplies for pharmaceutical retailers.

  2. Allow you to pass savings along to clients and patients for high quality care.

  3. Offer a full line of pharmaceutical products and supplies to retailers, hospitals and home health care companies.

  4. Help you attract customers with competitive pricing on vitamins and other products.

Purchase wholesale pharmacy supplies for retail pharmacy shops

Whether for an independent pharmacy or a part of a pharmacy chain, wholesale pharmacy supplies just make sense as a way to increase revenue and save money.

Purchase medical wholesale supplies to save customers money

Medical supply costs add up quickly for chronically ill patients. Regular purchasers of diabetic testing supplies, insulin syringes, arthritis treatments, joint support devices and incontinence supplies need every opportunity to save money.

Contract with full service pharmaceutical wholesalers for all your pharmacy needs

Full service pharmaceutical distributors supply their clients with a variety of products and services to meet the needs of clients and customers. A pharmaceuticals provider offering everything from wholesale drugs to over the counter pain relievers saves independent pharmacists and home care companies valuable time as well as money.

Find a pharmaceutical wholesaler that also deals in wholesale vitamins

Vitamins, herbals and supplements are big business in the medical community. Patients using nutritional supplements find relief of symptoms and an improved sense of well being from these products. Making vitamins and supplements available to your customers at competitive prices makes you their one-stop source for all health related purchases.

  • Visit pharmaceutical wholesaler trade shows to develop relationships with industry specialists.
  • Take time to meet with drug reps from various companies that offer significant savings on generic drugs for your customers. Drug reps also offer lots of free samples as an added incentive.

Who is the largest pharmaceutical distributor in the United States?

In 2018, the largest pharmaceutical distributor in the United States was CuraScript Specialty Distribution. Estimated annual revenue for the distributor is in excess of $4.4 billion. A close second to CuraScript Speciality Distribution is Morris & Dickson with an estimated annual revenue of $4.2 billion. There is the potential for profits to decrease in the coming years for the companies due to legislation that blocks the over-inflation of brand name medications. Profits are also impacted by deflations occurring in the generic medication market too.



Image Credit: NanoStockk / Getty Images
business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff
business.com Member
See business.com editorial staff's Profile
The purpose of our community is to connect small business owners with experienced industry experts who can address their questions, offer direction, and share best practices.