Exam Gloves Are AmeriNet's First Private-Label Offering

Edition: September 1999 - Vol 7 Number 09
Article#: 473
Author: Repertoire

St. Louis-based AmeriNet launched the first product of its AmeriNet Choice private-label program by contracting for non-sterile exam gloves with American Health Products Corp., a subsidiary of WRP Corp., Itasca, IL.

‘Our plan is not to 'private label the world,' but to drive volume and compliance in concert with our members' standardization programs,’ says Al Oehler, director of the private-label program.

To that end, AmeriNet will initially target commodity products ‘that have high utilization and low complexity,’ and that can be easily adopted by AmeriNet members, Oehler says. Product categories to be tackled include lap sponges, OR towels, procedure kits, electrodes and disposable patient items.

‘Once AmeriNet Choice has proven market acceptance and compliance, the plan is to progress to higher clinical preference items,’ says Oehler.

AmeriNet Choice also is launching a pharmaceutical portfolio of nonproprietary drugs. At press time, Oehler's staff was finalizing agreements with four to five pharmaceutical companies for selected SKUs, with an eye toward introducing six to eight AmeriNet Choice pharmaceutical products in the fourth quarter.

Program Launch

AmeriNet decided to go forward with its private-label business plan last October, when it incorporated AmeriNet Choice L.L.C. ‘The program has three key objectives -- to provide additional value to the AmeriNet membership, to enhance the name recognition of AmeriNet, and to promote standardization and compliance,’ says Oehler.

AmeriNet contract suppliers are preferred for the private label program. ‘These suppliers are market leaders whose products are accepted by the AmeriNet membership,’ says Oehler.

That said, the program is open to non-contract suppliers as well. In fact, the exam glove contract was awarded to just such a vendor. (However, other AmeriNet Choice contracts have been awarded to existing AmeriNet contracted suppliers.) ‘Based on the response of existing AmeriNet suppliers, AmeriNet Choice will either become a competitor in the AmeriNet contract portfolio or augment the business relationship by increasing share and utilization,’ says Oehler.

AmeriNet Choice agreements will be awarded on a sole-source basis. For example, only one vendor will supply exam gloves. ‘Quality and consistency of product and service can best be attained by having a single manufacturer produce the AmeriNet Choice label in a given product category,’ says Oehler.

Oehler is enthusiastic about his role in setting up AmeriNet Choice. ‘I am being given the opportunity to effectively start a new business, but I have access to an established market identity, a large customer base, start-up capital and good will.’

AmeriNet's 8,200 acute-care and non-acute-care members purchased a total of $4.1 billion of products through AmeriNet contracts in 1998. As of Aug. 31, 1999, the number of members in the GPO climbed to more than 10,000.