Here's a new central fill operation you can use

March 7, 2005

A Texas pharmacy technology company that picked up an Internet drugstore has turned the failing dot-com into a central fill operation to help retail pharmacies compete with their mail-order rivals.

A Texas pharmacy technology company that picked up an Internet drugstore has turned the failing dot-com into a central fill operation to help retail pharmacies compete with their mail-order rivals.

Rx.com shipped the first retail pharmacy-based mail-order prescriptions from its Fort Worth facility in early January. The former dot-com drugstore was purchased in 2000 by PDX Inc., a Texas pharmacy technology company founded by a pharmacist.

Using proprietary technology integrated with the PDX Pharmacy System and the Rx.com Enterprise Pharmacy System, the local client pharmacy enters, verifies, and adjudicates the prescriptions as usual. But then a request for fulfillment is sent to the Rx.com facility where the client pharmacy's label and logo are affixed to the script. It's then filled, checked for accuracy, and either returned for pickup at the pharmacy or sent directly to the patient.

Having the Rx.com mail-order facility dispense the medication frees up shelf space in the local pharmacy, said Hill. Instead of having to order, inventory, and store large stock bottles, the pharmacy gets charged only for the number of pills actually dispensed.

"Basically it's just-in-time inventory on a per-script basis rather than a large quantity sitting on the shelf not being used," Hill said. "It's also very important in very high AWP [average wholesale price] items. You may have some very, very expensive drugs that cost $800 to $1,000 and there may be 10 or 15 of those. If you multiply that by 100 stores or 500 stores, you're talking about millions and millions of dollars."

In return for filling and sending the prescriptions, Rx.com charges client pharmacies an undisclosed transaction fee per Rx. The company has signed letters of intent with 15 pharmacy chains operating about 4,000 chain drug and supermarket pharmacies, said Hill. Another two large chains are having their attorneys review letters of intent. The Texas facility could fill up to 10 million scripts this year.

Minnesota-based SUPERVALU Pharmacies was the first drugstore chain to sign up to have Rx.com fill its scripts. "We view this solution as a win, win, win," said Denise Schultz, director of pharmacy support. "It allows customers to benefit from their local pharmacy experience, it keeps the prescriptions in the retail sector, and it provides a lower prescription cost for employers. The new Rx.com strategy provided us with an opportunity not only to combat mandatory mail programs but also to promote new business for our pharmacies."

For more information, go to http://www.rx.com/ or phone Hill at (817) 935-2016.