Date: March 8, 2010
By Patrick M. Schmidt, CEO, FFF Enterprises Inc.
Looking back at the evolution of our company, it’s clear that there was a defining moment when what began as a means to an end - an income stream that would allow me to pursue my dream to coach football - turned into a passion to make a difference in an industry I had, by all accounts, stumbled into. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t view my entry into healthcare distribution as an accident, but rather a serendipitous event that has challenged, inspired and driven me in ways I could not have foreseen in the beginning.
It was the summer of 1990, at the beginning of the first Gulf War - Desert Storm - when I received a call that created a paradigm shift for me. Our company had just celebrated our two-year anniversary when we learned that the following day, the government was expected to requisition all of the albumin from manufacturers and distributors to treat possible war injuries. I received a call from a potential customer letting me know that another distributor had just called to try to sell them their stock at an inflated price in anticipation of the requisition, and expected shortage. Young and a bit naive, perhaps, I was stunned that there was profiteering going on in the healthcare industry, especially during wartime. And it wasn’t just the price gouging that was so disturbing; this intentional diversion of product represented a safety risk to those soldiers on the front line. It was at that precise moment that my focus and future inevitably changed; I realized that I wanted to be a part of a solution for an industry that in my mind should always operate with nothing but noble intentions - putting safety and availability, not profits, first. That was the beginning of our company’s commitment to purchase only from legitimate manufacturers, and sell only to certified healthcare providers, shortening the supply chain to avoid secondary distribution channels that open the doorway to counterfeiters and profiteering.
In April, we’ve chosen safety as the theme for our magazine, BioSupply Trends Quarterly. The content in this important issue is broad and deep, exploring the ongoing vulnerabilities in our supply chain and looking at meaningful measures to prevent counterfeiting. Surprisingly encouraging is our Industry Insight column, which reports on a very positive safety record for plasma products and vaccines during the last five years - a testament to the commitment of multiple stakeholders.
As we look at key safety issues facing our industry today, it brings to mind the years of innovation within our own company, as well as our collaboration with like-minded companies, individuals, associations and regulating bodies to influence the change necessary to ensure a safe pharmaceutical supply chain. At FFF, we call this Helping Healthcare Care, which is our mission. The evolution from our initial commitment, to our pledge of Guaranteed Channel Integrity, has resulted in more than 22 counterfeit-free years. Beyond our own sphere of influence, I am proud and overwhelmed by the commitment of our partners, the manufacturers, who put the safety and purity of products at the forefront of their decision-making process. As we look at our goals for the next decade, I believe we will achieve our greatest successes by maintaining a value system that is always “safety first.”