Wholesalers Taking Hard Look at Laws, Regulations

Article excerpt

Complying with laws and regulations must surely increase the cost of medicines, and the newly renamed Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) is planning to offer President George W. Bush the background information needed for a full review of the impact.

"It seems to me that we have a greater opportunity now with the new administration to more realistically look at laws and regulations and ask, Do they work? Could they work better? Or, should we be rid of them?" said Ron Streck, CEO of HDMA (formerly the National Wholesale Druggists' Association). In an interview with Drug Topics, Streck said the study would look not only at laws and regulations that affect wholesalers, but also at those that affect all the health-care segments they interact with-manufacturers, hospitals, and community pharmacies. The idea, he continued, is to have the industry present a united front and press for change, even if a particular regulation doesn't directly affect all parties.

The study also will look at legal and regulatory systems in Canada and Mexico. "We take a lot of heat because our [drug] prices are higher than in other countries," Streck said. HDMA believes the cost of compliance in the United States adds significantly to the disparity but wants to have hard evidence to support its claim. "We want Congress to recognize that if it passes laws that affect the way we do business in health care, there are costs attached to that," he said.

Another initiative for the 125-yearold trade association has an even broader outlook, reflecting the increasing globalization of the healthcare industry. A Web-based databank, the Global Healthcare Business Forum will attempt to bridge borders with the information needed to link healthcare buyers and sellers. Streck said HDMA was going to send out 5,000 brochures to health-care companies around the world inviting them to join the portal, list their products, and offer a hyperlink to their Web page. …