Wholesale Pharmaceutical Distributors Could Negotiate Retail Discounts, Says AmerisourceBergen’s CEO Steven Collis

AmerisourceBergen CEO Steven Collis Credit: AmerisourceBergen

Pharmaceutical distributors like AmerisourceBergen negotiate wholesale drug prices for providers, but one day distributors could be the linchpin that helps patients buy their medications at retail negotiated prices right at the pharmacy counter, says AmerisourceBergen’s CEO Steven Collis.

“AmerisourceBergen and our peers have a long history of managing net price adjudication in health systems and alternate care settings,” Collis said in the company’s first quarter earnings conference call. “Every day, AmerisourceBergen provides the financial services to health systems and manufacturers that allow for provider access to pharmaceuticals at the negotiated net prices based on their agreements with manufacturers.”

Similar process could be utilized for adjudicating negotiated discounts at the retail counter, he said.

“Certainly, this added service for the healthcare system would require time and investment,” Collis said. “However, we are confident in both our value proposition and the industry’s ability to work together with policymakers and commercial partners to further enable access and create additional efficiencies within the supply chain.”

AmerisourceBergen calls itself “the backbone of the healthcare supply chain,” providing distribution and supply chain management solutions. One of its units is ASD Healthcare, the nation’s largest specialty pharmaceutical distributor for oncology and supportive care products to health systems.

Companywide, AmerisourceBergen has more than 20,000 employees and 150-plus offices worldwide and ships more than 3 million products each day. In its fiscal first quarter, the company posted $45.39 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $1.60 — beating Wall Street estimates of $43.85 billion in revenue and $1.50 EPS.

Since Collins became CEO in 2011 after a long career at the company and its predeccessors, AmerisourceBergen’s revenues have more than doubled. Collis has been credited with extending the company’s global reach and scoring key acquisitions, including a strategic partnership with Walgreens/Alliance Boots, the retail pharmacy chain. Amerisource is now ranked the 12th largest company on the Fortune 500.

Collis told Fortune that the most critical leadership lesson he learned during that growth and transformation: “Respect. Listening to people. Getting ideas from people. Diversity of people.”

He’s No. 11 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.

Steven Collis, AmerisourceBergen

Headquarters: Chesterbrook, PA

Age: 58

Education:  University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

First joined company: 1994 (predecessor companies)

Prior to joining AmerisourceBergen: Sterling Medical

Named CEO: 2011