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Re: [IP] Preferred provider's high supply prices

On 12 Apr 99 at 9:42, Phil DuBois wrote:

> May I add another perspective?

And it is a valuable perspective, with some interesting input that we don't 
often think about.  I would also like to see a good medical supply house 
actually get their act together and contract with Chronimed (just like 
Disetronic and MiniMed do!) to make "private label" infusion sets.  This 
"generic" supply source would be able to market their supplies and give 
discounts so operations like yours could actually handle the supplies and 
provide some additional services...  hopefully at a competetive price so you 
don't have to complain about other suppliers prices...

Even though MiniMed and Disetronic don't like it, people use the sets from one 
with the pump from the other...  that's called competition.  The distributer 
networks are more of an anti-trust violation because they artificially inflate 
prices and create a limited and captive market.  If a real service is provided 
then a markup may be justified, but I'd rather buy from MiniMed direct at 
a lower price than get the exact same response from a local supplier at two to 
four times the price...  

> I'm all for buying at the best price, and in the competitive world, may the
> best provider win.  However, it would be nice to have a level playing field. 

There are providers, and there are providers... some "providers" operate 
nothing more than a toll-free number where orders are taken and then things are
drop shipped from someone else's warehouse...  those operations don't deserve
the 100%-1000% markup they want to take...  a level playing field requires more 
than just skimming the profit off the market... and I think that's what your 
next comment says you're trying to do - provide services in addition to just 

> For a company like ours who tries to offer a comprehensive, local diabetes
> education program, this mail-order arrangement means a loophole in our
> program.  For our customers who prefer to have a local face to deal with, they
> don't like calling someone "way off" for their personal medical needs.

Some customers need a local face, and some don't.  The problem is complex and 
made even more difficult by the fact that these are "big-ticket" items that we 
have to buy continously...  so whoever does get things together and put a line 
of "generic" infusion sets on the market might be in the place to actually 
provide a needed service and make a ton of money...    

It's like the test strip/meter thing.  The meters may be relatively expensive 
and "low margin" items, but the constant demand for test strips almost means a 
guaranteed profit... even with a low margin.  That's why they give the meters 
away - so you'll buy their strips.  And since I buy between $200 and $300 worth 
of strips a month I am constantly amazed at how shabbily the meter 
manufacturers treat those of us who use their products...

Randall P. Winchester
* The views expressed here are mine and do not necessarily *
* reflect the official position of anyone in particular.            *
* There's no guarantee on anything said here...
* If I say I understand something completely the only thing
* we can both be assured of is that I must have completely
* misunderstood something. 
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