HDA foundation captures specialty Rx distributor trends

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Report on member-distributor performance metrics for 2019

New data released by the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) Research Foundation points to the supply chain efficiencies generated by HDA-member specialty drug distributors. According to the latest edition of Specialty Pharmaceutical Distribution: Facts, Figures and Trends, specialty distributors serve as an important link between 176 manufacturers and more than 49,000 provider ship-to points for administration or dispensing to patients. In citing data from IQVIA, HDA noted that the specialty pharma market reached $426 billion in 2019.

Independent physician-owned and -operated clinics make up the biggest customer segment (about 18,000), followed by hospitals, retail pharmacies and specialty pharmacies. As in years past, oncology products accounted for the highest shipping volume, at 52% of specialty distributors’ weighted average sales, followed by products in the inflammatory/autoimmune, supportive care, ophthalmology and hemophilia/bleeding disorder groups.

The primary data are gathered through a survey of HDA specialty distributors who have recorded yearly sales greater than $1 billion for the 2019 fiscal year; they also have combined average gross specialty sales of $23 billion. The Covid-19 response is not reflected in this particular publication.


Among the 2019 highlights:

  • On average, specialty distributors received more than 4,500 orders daily. Each distribution center typically picked nearly 7,300 lines daily, with an average of 2.8 lines per order.
  • Distributors achieved a 98.8% order fill rate on average and delivered 1.4 days after receiving an order. The typical turnaround time from courier pickup to delivery to the dispenser was 18.3 hours.
  • A majority of distributors (75%) reported using temperature-monitoring devices to track shipments of specialty pharmaceuticals at various points in the supply chain. The same amount believe that overall cold-chain compliance and temperature monitoring are becoming increasingly important.