Specialty pharmacy links with UPS for faster delivery to patients, clinics

MedVantx pursues manufacturers looking for alternative distribution channels

Here and there around the world, there are pharma distributors or logistics providers who locate a facility “at the end of the runway”—as close as possible to where cargo planes are loaded, with a view toward providing faster delivery with shorter turnaround time. In a way, MedVantx (San Diego), a distributor and specialty pharmacy company, is doing that idea one better by locating a pharmacy at the end of the runway. The runway in question happens to be at the WorldPort of UPS in Louisville, KY, one of the largest express-package delivery locations in the world, and home to several dedicated UPS Healthcare Logistics facilities.

MedVantx has been pushing the envelope for several years now with an emphasis on getting prescriptions or drug samples into the hands of patients as quickly as possible. Last year, it announced the MedStart Connect program, which places a physical (not virtual) sample closet in physicians’ offices that is stocked with commonly sampled products. The firm’s first mail-order pharmacy is located in Sioux Falls, SD; the new one in Louisville will be its second. MedVantx also is building out a suite of hub services for specialty manufacturers, including reimbursement and adherence support services.

“More and more, the traditional marketing techniques like samples, copay cards or quick-fill programs are converging,” says Robert Feeny, MedVantx founder and CEO. “The colocation with UPS, together with UPS’ extensive cold chain capabilities there, enable us to be as close as possible to same-day delivery, nationally.” Feeny notes that the company’s running inventory of pharma products is $1.2 billion, from about a dozen pharma manufacturers.

For UPS, says Feeny, the advantage is to move the inventory sitting in their Louisville facilities more quickly. “Working closely with MedVantx,” said John Menna, UPS Healthcare Logistics VP, “we developed an offering that answers their need by providing [their] second cGMP-compliant pharmacy location that supports a full range of temperature-sensitive products along with controlled substance storage, and best-in-class distribution services to their customers throughout the U.S.”