By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
When you have a prescription that needs to be filled, you head to your local pharmacy. Ever wonder where the pharmacies get their supply from?
It is likely from one of warehouses operated by WDSrx, which supplies pharmaceuticals to 530 zip codes.
One of those warehouses, a 70,000-square-foot facility on Clint Moore Road in Boca Raton, ships out more than 800 packages containing 14 million dosages per day.
“Pharmacists are licensed to dispense to patients,” President Adam Runsdorf said. “We are licensed to dispense to stores.”
Local healthcare and life science companies were recently invited to tour the facility, a retrofitted IBM building, in an event organized by the city’s Office of Economic Development. The goal was to get people in the same industry to network and better work together.
Runsdorf said the local life sciences community is unique because of the willingness of companies to cooperate and collaborate with each other to build businesses together.
The audience of about 50 included healthcare professionals from local universities, financial institutions, manufacturers, start-ups, support services and other suppliers. Several elected officials including Mayor Susan Haynie and Councilman Robert Weinroth attended as well.
“It’s not a fancy business,” Runsdorf said during the tour. “We are in the trenches.”
The company has to be licensed in every state it distributes to and each have their own set of rules, he said. The one exception is the state of Massachusetts, he said, which doesn’t require licensing.
Everything that the warehouse receives and then sends out is electronically catalogued. Monthly, he said a report is sent to Washington, D.C. where activity is monitored by the government. Because everything is electronically catalogued, Runsdorf said there is very little phone calls to the warehouse. Communication is typically handled electronically.
“With a scan gun we can see and know where everything is in this location,” he said. “In this business accuracy is key.”
The warehouse itself is also regulated. Temperature readings are taken every 30 minutes to make sure the correct temperature is maintained to house the medicine. Of course there are cameras and security measures taken as well.
Inside the warehouse is the second largest controlled substance vault in the state. He said it was built to accommodate a New Jersey-based company. The door weighs 11,000 pounds, has a generator, alarm system, cameras and must be handed by two people at all times if it is in use.
“This is Fort Knox,” he said.
Runsdorf said Florida doesn’t produce a lot, rather it imports a lot. The warehouse receives shipments from 14 countries daily including fish oil from Lima, Peru and other European countries like Italy and Spain.
“We have become a destination location,” he said. “We are Fed Ex’s largest customer in Palm Beach County.”
About once a month he said everything in the warehouse is replaced with new inventory.
Another function of the company is to collect, catalog and transport old and expired medication to be incinerated. The company collects from 800 pharmacies across the country and then take the drugs to be destroyed.
The facility also has machines to bottle medications and capsules in house. A new machine will begin making blister packs after it receives FDA approval. He said the machine cost $700,000 and was custom ordered from Taiwan.
Starting in November, he said all prescription drugs will have an individual serial number just like a dollar bill. The machines will be equipped to handle the new regulations.