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Product transition: orphan drug distribution



An EU based company bought their first drug for the US market. The drug had been in open distribution for several years. For a variety of reasons, they wanted to narrow the distribution to a single US distributor. In the process of doing this, they had concerns about making sure all patients had access to the drug, the healthcare providers would have a smooth transition, and the company would not lose sales or margin from returns, chargebacks, or lost sales during the transition. 



Key to the transition was a coordinated communications plan both internal and external to the client. D2 also worked with client to secure a third-party logistics provider (3 PL) and highly qualified single distributor. This work included identifying target 3 PLs and distributors and selecting, contracting, and implementing a 3 PL and distributor. Since the EU parent company was active in the transition, education about nuances and unique aspects of the US pharmaceutical market was important to success.



Head of Supply Chain & Trade

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Vice President - Trade

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Trade &


  • Distribution Strategies

  • Channel Management

  • 3PL (Third-Party Logistics)

  • Trade & Supply Chain Support


Specialty Drug Launch:

Distribution Strategy



An emerging pharmaceutical company had their first drug, an oral oncolytic that would benefit from a broad suite of services. The client wanted to assure access to all sites that may want to dispense the product. This included hospitals, physician clinics, and specialty pharmacies. The services included coordination with labs, co-pay and patient assistance support, and prior authorization. 



Working with the client, D2 developed a coherent distribution strategy starting at the contract manufacturer organization (CMO) and ending with the patient’s home. Included as elements were a third-party logistics provider, specialized transport services, a small network of specialty distributors, a network of specialty pharmacies, a hub service provider. The key deliverables from the strategy were: a gross to net estimate for the various channels of distribution, cost estimates for each part of the supply chain, and a forecast of product production necessary to fill the channel, a timeline of key activities needed to launch at the PDUFA date.

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