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7 Attributes to Look for in a Pharmacy GPO

Being an independent pharmacy, outcompeting National Pharmacy Chains can be challenging. However, the tables could turn in your favor if you approach with the right marketing mindset. Managing your pharmacy store and its marketing is not easy, that is why working with a GPO will be valuable to your pharmacy.

But what should a pharmacy look for when investigating a potential Pharmacy Marketplace in the hopes of leveling up their sales and reputation. This article discusses a few key considerations to keep in mind when choosing a Marketplace.


There are hundreds, if not thousands, of GPOs. Many organizations specialize in a particular industry. Knowing an agency's experience in your industry is crucial to the selection process. You may be taking a risk if they don't have the experience or if their team members haven't worked for a Pharmacy before.

To hire an experienced agency, look for a firm with a relatively profound track record in the industry. Ensure they have developed multiple campaigns for pharmacies in the respective vertical.

If you don't find any information on their website regarding their work history in the pharmacy industry, ask them directly.


Since Pharmacies operate in such a knowledge-intensive sector, awareness of the industry is essential for GPO's teams to build a comprehensive and effective campaign. The firm will need to understand everything there is to know about the sector, and it must be reflected from reading their content, like blog articles or LinkedIn updates. Take a look at what they've written and see what you can learn from them.

It is suggested to check their social media followers and social shares on their content — all of these are valid indicators of their reputation. In addition, identify whether they have a good understanding of the market trends in the pharmaceutical industry?

Knowing all of this gives you an idea of whether the Pharmaceutical Marketplace is knowledgeable.


Will the GPO bring fresh ideas to the table, or will they stick to a strategy that restricts lateral thinking? A thorough examination of their website's portfolio is a perfect place to begin. You can also request case studies from the agency to confirm their ideation process.

You must not expect an entire strategy or campaign in the pitch, but you will be able to get an overview of the marketing plan and goals you haven't achieved yet.


Understanding the firm's methodology for developing your campaign is vital. For example, how will they collaborate with you to create the campaigns? What information will they need from you? What kind of commitments do they want you to make?

It's crucial to understand the process and agree on what works best for you. Some agencies prefer to play a minor role in marketing support and let the firm handle everything. Some clients require more hand-holding on daily calls and other services. They are willing to develop content like thought leadership articles, coordinate interviews with industry influencers, and similar activities. Which of these techniques appeals to you the most?

Regardless of what activities appeal to you the most, ensure that the firm's services fit your goals and expectations.


Pricing is also a critical factor when choosing a marketplace. GPOs work with the sole purpose of providing the surgical tools, DMEs (Durable Medical Equipments), Drugs, and other healthcare supplies at a relatively lower cost. Group Purchase Organizations bargain with the providers in their network to provide a reasonable cost to their members.

However, GPOs are mainly funded by the administrative cost pharmacies pay through a contract. On average, the administrative fee per contract ranges from 1.22% to 2.25%.

GPOs might also collect participation fees from their members. However, the membership fee can be a one-time thing paid upon joining the GPO or may be collected annually. In some cases, some GPOs waive their membership fee after attaining a certain purchasing threshold.

Choose to go with a GPO that clearly sets the fees and purchasing volume terms.

Set KPIs

Don't be afraid to bring up KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) right away. It is a great time to talk about what you can anticipate as a customer and what the GPO can do for you. For example, if you're running a sales campaign to promote new high-value medical equipment with complicated procurement processes, sales won't happen in the first quarter. And so, ask the GPO how they can help you with it.

These discussions can help you manage expectations from both sides and report to the sales director when the initiatives provide accurate results.

Return on Investments & Objectives

If you're a pharmaceutical firm and can't decide whether to engage an in-house specialist or a GPO, go with the latter. Why? Because employing an in-house specialist will cost you time and money in terms of training, machinery setup, extra income, and other advantages. In addition, success is not guaranteed.

Hiring a GPO is preferable as it reduces operating costs and obtains a quantitative investment return. Therefore, you must constantly inquire about how your pharmacy partner would directly support your organization's aims and objectives. For example, how will they track the results and focus on getting the best return on investment?

If you don't receive concrete answers to these questions, you know that you need to find another option.

At United Pharmacy Network, we're on a mission to help every community pharmacy so that they can thrive in the new age of digital healthcare. If you'd like to have a discussion with us about your pharmacy's solutions, please visit our website. A team member will contact you to discuss your expectations and the best way to proceed.

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