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Get to Know Robert J. Schaltenbrand, the GRx Vice President of Industry and Trade Relations

2 years ago  •  Add Comment  •  by Donna Bliss

Robert Schaltenbrand is a household name in the pharmaceutical industry on the trade relations side of the business. He joined Guaranteed Returns about eleven years ago after spending a considerable amount of his career at AmerisourceBergern as an Operations Manager. In addition, Robert is the son of an independent pharmacist who ran a successful pharmacy business in Southern Illinois.
GRx is privileged to have Robert on our team and we wrote this blog article to give you the opportunity to learn more about Robert’s perspective on the Reverse Distribution Industry.
  1. What changes have you seen in the industry from when you first started working for Guaranteed Returns?

Since starting with Guaranteed Returns 11 years ago, there has been a lot of industry consolidation amongst manufacturers, wholesalers and reverse distributors. Also, more manufacturers have item specific return policies than they did years ago, thus it is imperative that dispensers contract with a Reverse Distributor that has a strong policy research department.

  1. You are a member of the HDMA Return Task Force (RTF). What does the task force do? How does it help the industry?

The Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) is a knowledge group of industry members that includes wholesalers, manufacturers and reverse distributors. The HDMA is an excellent source of industry information and best practices for the healthcare supply chain. The HDMA RTF is a valuable resource to government and public policy decision makers because we provide feedback, guidelines and solutions on issues affecting the industry. The RTF has published multiple white papers and guidelines concerning best practices for the efficient handling of pharmaceutical returns.

  1. Why do you think pharmaceutical returns are important?

Pharmaceutical returns provide substantial credit opportunities for expired, unwanted or excess drug products to all dispensers. Pharmacies, especially independent community pharmacies where every dollar is important, can benefit greatly from returning their pharmaceutical returns and gaining credit for future purchases; this means fewer dollars have to come directly out of their pockets.

It also gives manufacturers the peace of mind knowing that unused pharmaceuticals are being disposed of properly and not being sent to the landfill or into the water supply. Manufacturers are responsible for the cradle to grave lifecycle of the products they produce. Reverse distribution is the final step in the cradle to grave lifecycle.

  1. What qualities do you think a successful pharmaceutical returns company should have?

Naturally, providing the highest quality service to the pharmacy is paramount. Beyond that, I believe transparency and authenticity are the two most important qualities of a successful returns company. Customers want to see exactly what they are getting from their pharmaceutical returns company. Whether it is drug specific return detail, manufacturer credit performance, or a breakdown of what their service fee includes, transparency and authenticity are essential in maintaining customer confidence.

In the spirit of transparency and authenticity, we at GRx have been refining our customer portal to make sure that the reports we provide answer the questions our customers ask us about the most. We have developed reports that are accurate and consistent, and provide timely information about a customer’s return. In response to our customers’ most common requests, we have launched our new Credit Status Report. This report compiles return data from our most popular customer reports in a “one stop” cycle specific format.

Here the customer can review their Cycle Summary information including Estimated Returnables Value, Service Fee and anticipated Wholesaler Credits. Below this, is the Direct and CII Direct Summary, by manufacturer, which now includes the associated debit memo numbers for those returns to make any direct vendor inquiries simpler. Alongside this grid, are any Adjustments made to credit, including any additional charges, as well as “drop ship” direct credits reported by their wholesaler and applied to net payment. A Schedule of Payments made or pending, whether via wholesaler account credit or GRX check, provides wholesaler credit memo numbers or GRX check numbers as well as dates of issue and net amounts paid. The Vendor Credit section displays, by manufacturer, the Estimated Return Values as well as a detailed breakdown of gross credits reported and distributed for each periodic payout, giving the customer a valuable overview of each manufacturer’s return credit performance. It combines convenience and ease of use in a format that is sure to meet our customer’s reporting requirements.

Deciphering your pharmaceutical returns will be far less of a challenge, when you know exactly what you returned, how much credit you received for your product and what you paid for your pharmaceutical returns service.

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Please feel free to email me any pharmaceutical returns questions you may have. I am passionate about helping people in the industry learn more.

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