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Buying Vaccines from Group Purchasing Organizations
Part 1 – Smart Purchasing: Buying Vaccines from Group Purchasing Organizations
Starting an adult vaccination program can enhance disease prevention and benefit patient care, but it can also be a risky endeavor for physician practices if they fail to get the purchasing process right – the reason being that purchasing at the right price is one of the major areas necessary to establish a vaccine program that works. Practices that get this first step wrong are destined to get off to a bad start. Therefore, what makes the most sense, in terms of profitability, is to purchase vaccines in quantities greater than one from a GPO (group purchasing organization). If vaccines are purchased directly from the manufacturer make sure you are buying in quantities of 10 or more. Don’t forget to ask about any discounts that may be available.
What are group purchasing organizations?
Group purchasing organizations combine orders from physician practices and other health facilities in order to receive volume discounts on vaccines from manufacturers and distributors. Practices that choose to purchase vaccines in bulk through a group purchasing arrangement can benefit significantly from these savings, while maintaining an adequate vaccine supply to meet their patients’ needs. Placing orders this way also allows physicians to bypass making vaccine purchases on an as-needed basis, which can be extremely costly and result in little profit to the practice.
Choosing the right buying group or distributor
Using a GPO can be particularly beneficial for practices with vaccine programs that are just starting out, where there might be a lesser demand from patients for vaccines. After all, like with most products, vaccines cost less the more you buy – and manufacturers are more likely to give a price break to those who buy in larger quantities. In fact, according to one vaccine purchasing organization, practices can save up to 35 percent when they purchase vaccines through a buying group rather than directly from a medical supply distributor or retail pharmacy.
In order to find the right buying group, or GPO, physicians should first determine which vaccines would be included in their program. This will help practices narrow their choices down to a handful of buying groups and distributors that provide these vaccines. The Physicians’ Alliance of America (PAA), for example, is a GPO that includes a number of adult vaccines from various manufacturers. Meanwhile, VaxServe is a commonly used vaccine distributor that provides competitive prices and terms on inject-ables and vaccines. If no group purchasing organization offers all of the vaccines that your practice requires, it may be necessary to buy different vaccines from different GPOs.
Buy the right quantity
Once a group purchasing organization has been decided on, practices can get to work ordering the supplies they will need for their adult vaccine program. Come up with a goal for the number of vaccines you want to administer in a month and make sure you order enough inventory to meet your goal. Most organizations recommend buying vaccines in quantities of at least ten in order to obtain a price that makes the program profitable. If your goal is to administer 40 vaccines per month then plan on buying 20 vaccines every two weeks.
Confused about purchasing vaccines or need help finding the right GPO (group purchasing organization) for your practice? Contact Us
Part D Vaccine