What does a pharmaceutical broker do?
January 1, 2012 7:16 PM   Subscribe

Someone I met gave me a business card that intrigues me. What does this guy do?

Met this guy casually a few times, he gave me his business card. His business name is XY Wholesale, which where XY are his initials. His "logo" includes a small "Rx" and his email address includes RX in it also. I looked the company up online and it's listed as a "pharmaceutical broker" and also in the "Pharmaceutical Preparation Mfg" business.

What is it that he does? I can't even figure it out from googling, really. He has a 1-person business, from what I can tell.
posted by RustyBrooks to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
He's a drug dealer.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:18 PM on January 1, 2012 [8 favorites]

IME this means he imports bulk pharmaceuticals and pharma ingredients and resells them domestically. This is not necessarily illegitimate.
posted by blargerz at 7:36 PM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

The companies that manufacture pharmaceuticals have to source their ingredients from somewhere, just like Coca-Cola has to source its ingredients from somewhere for its various products.

It sounds like he is an intermediary between the companies that produce the raw chemicals that go into pharmaceuticals and the companies that manufacture those pharmaceuticals.

But: Why don't you ask him about his business? Most people who own businesses love to talk about their business.
posted by dfriedman at 7:57 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I probably will when I see him again. Basically as I was leaving somewhere the other day he randomly handed me the card. I don't have any *particular* reason to call him but I took it and didn't think much of it. But as I was looking through my stuff the other day, just got curious about it.

My first though was also "drug dealer" in some shape or form - maybe something like designer drugs or steroids (we met via a cycling club...) But his business is google-able, his business card has an address on it (for what looks like a business/commercial office park), and that address matches what's on the web hits I'm finding (which are not a site of his, but just business listings) so that seemed... awfully direct.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:02 PM on January 1, 2012

Yeah uh, drug dealers don't have business cards, and if they do, they don't say "Lol I'm a drug dealer" on them.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:15 PM on January 1, 2012 [8 favorites]

Not to mention drug dealers do not typically have a web presence.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:06 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Buyer for a cosmetics company...almost everything that goes into a lotion or a sunblock is brokered by these guys, usually in 55 gallon drums. They love to buy dinner, let him.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 9:20 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are a lot of intermediaries like this that stand in between the distributor (e.g. Big Pharma Co. like GSK) and the patient; for instance, many hospitals and nursing homes have in-house pharmacies. They deal in bulk generics as much as possible. Since supplies and wholesale prices fluctuate, while patient prices are often set by contract with insurance companies, any savings is profit (or net positive revenue) for the care provider, and a broker would be useful in hooking up supplier and customer to take advantage of these arbitrage opportunities.

Pharmaceutical Preparation Mfg is a census-defined industry classification.
posted by dhartung at 11:28 PM on January 1, 2012

This is just a guess on my part, but I think this might be the type of person you occasionally see at doctor offices with free pens and samples.
posted by samsara at 3:01 AM on January 2, 2012

No, that's a pharmaceutical sales rep. They don't actually sell to doctors, per se, they get doctors to prescribe their drugs to patients, and they work directly for manufacturers. I don't think someone who did that would describe themselves as a broker.
posted by dhartung at 9:45 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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