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THE PHARMA REVIEW (JAN 2010)

3PL Service Providers Aim to Please

 

INTRODUCTION: The “bright line” distinction between traditional wholesale-distribution, and third-party logistics (3PL) for biopharma has traditionally been very simple: wholesaler-distributors take ownership of product, and handle downstream distribution, while 3PLs do only the latter under the direction of the manufacturer. But today’s picture of the industry shows that while wholesaling is even more prevalent than before, manufacturers are growing increasingly comfortable with outsourcing some part of their distribution to 3PLs to maintain better control over some of their market channels.
The line also blurs because some wholesaler-distributors offer 3PL services themselves. AmerisourceBergen has its Specialty Group (ABSG, Frisco, TX); Cardinal has the Specialty Pharmaceutical Services unit (LaVergne, TN), to name two. For another, there are many logistics services that pharma companies need besides delivery of finished product. These include sample management programs, clinical trial logistics, product returns and more.

 

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