Pharmaceutical Commerce - November/December 2016 - 10


Top News
Drone delivery of medical
products takes flight in Rwanda
UPS, GAVI and Zipline collaborate on a national delivery system
Following through on an initiative
announced earlier this year, a deliveryby-drone program has now been established
in Rwanda, where the combination of
the expense of stocking valuable medical
products widely, combined with poor
logistics, makes economic sense for use of
the technology. The drone devices were
developed by a California company, Zipline;
UPS provided initial funding and ongoing
technical support; and GAVI, the vaccines
alliance charity, is supporting the effort with
a view toward expanding it to other regions.
The effort might be the world's first to
deliver healthcare products to clinics on a
routine basis. An infrastructure (launch and
landing stations, plus the aircraft) is being
set up to deliver as many as 150 emergency
deliveries per day to 21 transfusing stations
in the western region of the country. The

initial goals are to address the needs of
patients with postpartum hemorrhaging, a
leading cause of death for pregnant women.
Blood requires storage and transport at safe
temperatures and spoils quickly. Because
there are many different blood products and
no way to accurately project future needs,
many transfusion clinics do not keep all the
blood they may need in stock.
The Zipline craft can carry up to 1.5
kg of product and have a 150-km roundtrip range. Plans are in place to expand the
network (currently based in the Muhanga
District); deliveries to the eastern region will
begin in 2017. "We are happy to be launching
this innovative technology and to continue
working with partners to develop it further,"
said Rwandan President Paul Kagame, at a
recent ceremony.
Drones (or "unmanned aerial vehicles,"

Zipline craft parachutes its delivery load to a designated pickup point. Credit: Zipline

UAVs) are all the buzz in logistics circles,
most notably with Amazon's efforts to use
them commercially to make deliveries. Both
UPS and DHL have performed earlier pilot
projects, but the UPS undertaking seems to
be the first with regular, ongoing service. In

announcing the Rwanda undertaking, UPS
also noted that it has run delivery tests in
the US, is a member of a newly established
FAA Drone Advisory Committee, and has
experimented with using drones inside its
warehouses to check high storage racks.

Avella Specialty Pharmacy
tops list of fast-growing
private pharmacies
Drug Channel's analysis of Inc. 5000 shows some
eye-popping growth
By way of DrugChannels.net, industry
guru Adam Fein's blog of trends in pharma
distribution, the recently released Inc. 5000
list of high-growth private companies in the
US, shows some dramatic growth rates among
specialty pharmacies. The biggest players in
this market, companies like Express Script's

Accredo Pharmacy, or Diplomat Pharmacy,
are either subsidiaries of other companies or
have made the transition to a public company.
So, the Inc. 5000 list reveals (self-reported)
information about private companies not
readily available elsewhere. "Although the
Inc. list is a self-selected sample, the revenue
Avella's expanded clean room facilities. Credit: Avella

Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private specialty pharmacies
2015
revenue
$ million

20122015
revenue
growth
rate

rank on
Inc.
5000

1.046.8

112%

3,048

Bioplus Specialty

827.4

456%

868

TNH Advanced Specialty

404.2

976%

391

Curant Health

186.2

181%

2058

Apothecary by Design

166.7

450%

885

Pentec Health

129.2

68%

4,133

Benzer Pharmacy

125.1

236%

1601

ExactCare Pharmacy

119.2

416%

954

Avella Specialty Pharmacy

SMP Pharmacy Solutions

76.8

396%

1004

PantherRX Specialty

42.4

13381%

9

Focus Rx

34.5

202%

1849

Accurate Rx Pharmacy

16.5

406%

987

Source: Pembroke Consulting analysis of 2016 Inc. database
10 Visit our website at www.PharmaceuticalCommerce.com November | December 2016

growth rates are truly astounding," says
Fein, looking at the top 12 that made his list.
"Average (median) 2015 revenue for these 12
businesses was $265 million ($127 million),
and the average 3-year revenue growth rate
was 1,440% (401%). Eleven of the companies
also appeared on last year's list. Their average
year-over-year revenue growth rate for 2015
was an impressive 63% (median=53%)."
Avella Specialty Pharmacy tops the list,
having just passed $1 billion in annual
revenue, and up 25% from the preceding
year. The company announced a relocation
to new offices, and significantly expanded
clean room capacity (see photo) that will
go online in 2017. But the fastest-growing
company on the list is PantherRx Specialty
Pharmacy, which grew by more than 13,000%
(!) over the 2012-2015 period. An article
accompanying the Inc. 5000 list attributes this
growth to the company's success in winning
exclusive distribution agreements for some
orphan drugs.
According to Fein, Avella and another
company, BioPlus, are prime candidates for

acquisition; together, they account for 60%
of the total 2015 revenue of the 12 on the list,
and presumably thus have a scale that makes
their acquisition worthwhile.
Specialty pharmacies continue to provide
one of the clearest signals in the US drug
market-the impact of specialty drugs,
with the add-on services that those drugs
require. The Inc. article on PantherRx, for
example, notes the extra efforts the company
makes in handling prior authorizations and
reimbursements for patients and physicians,
and the use of nurse educators that visit
patients. "We work hand-in-hand with the
manufacturers and patients to make sure
the drugs are being administered correctly,"
Gordon Vanscoy, PantherRx CEO, told Inc.
"We send nurses to train patients, track
results, and make sure the therapies are being
used correctly. The big pharmacies do not
have this type of soft touch, they are in an
efficiency model." Manufacturers can work
with specialty pharmacies in this fashion; they
can also work with hub services providers to
complement the pharmacies' efforts.


http://www.Drugchannels.net http://pharmaceuticalcommerce.com/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pharmaceutical Commerce - November/December 2016

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Pharmaceutical Commerce - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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