EDI gains ground among pharmaceutical wholesalers

12. September 2019

Hospitals, pharmacies and drug suppliers in the Czech Republic are more likely to use the format PDK (PharmData code) for electronic communication. However, owing to the market development and changes in the marketplace, electronic data interchange (EDI) is now penetrating into these fields and is increasingly gaining ground.

The communication format PDK has been developed by the Czech company PharmData and serves for electronic interchange of structured data among domestic hospitals or pharmacies and their suppliers. Today, however, the wholesalers on the pharmaceutical market do not sell goods to hospitals and pharmacies only – their customers are also e-shops, supermarkets, drugstores or health food stores, plus they trade with foreign suppliers. In these business cases, they prefer EDI.

„Previously, we supplied about 6 000 items, now we supply 17 000 items. Our clients are no longer just hospitals and pharmacies but also gas stations, drugstores or health food stores. And these companies do not use PDK, we have to communicate with them using EDI,“ explains Tomáš Procházka, Logistics Manager at Alliance Healthcare, a leading drug distributor in the Czech Republic.

„In addition to classic sale, we also operate on the market as a logistics provider. This means that large manufacturers of pharmaceuticals from abroad store goods with us and we ship it according to their instructions. EDI is very widespread abroad, so we also switched to it and have used the solution ORiON EDI from GRiT,“ concludes Tomáš Procházka.

Some of the pharmacies are also switching to EDI, one of the first being Pilulka.cz, a network of internet and brick-and-mortar pharmacies. „EDI saves us an incredible amount of work when ordering goods and processing documents. By 2020, we want to involve as many of our suppliers as possible in EDI and we are considering introducing it also as a precondition for cooperation with us,” states Michal Hanáček, Operations Director at Pilulka.cz.

In general, the involvement of suppliers is a common practice that accompanies the introduction of EDI in every market. „We were once forced to use EDI by a key buyer, today we cannot imagine doing business without it. Our documents are not wandering anywhere and when I send an invoice, I get an acknowledgement that it has arrived alright. In addition, the system ORiON EDI from GRiT is well-arranged and for small suppliers also very cheap because it is enough to have EDI in a web browser,“ encourages all the smaller suppliers that might be afraid of EDI Michal Valent. His company Health Factory delivers infant milks and baby food into the largest Czech e-shops and pharmacies.

David Reichel, Product Manager of ORiON EDI, also agrees that EDI pays off for pharmaceutical companies. „In pharmacy, there is a long-term working, advanced solution of electronic communication between suppliers, wholesalers and pharmacies or hospitals. However, it is only valid in the Czech Republic and only for medicines. EDI thus fills an imaginary niche on the market, enables wholesalers to order and sell comfortably also goods such as food supplements and communicate with foreign suppliers,“ concludes Reichel.

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