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Why a FSS Contract isn’t Enough

Securing a 65 IB Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract with the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is a critical accomplishment for a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Not only does it ensure statutory compliance with the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, it also allows admittance into the valuable Federal market. However, an often misguided judgment is that contract issuance ensures quick and supported product utilization. Truly, the contract is only a pass to enter the field - an important one; yet, still just a ticket for entry. The intricacy of the Government decision-making process and an unrealized execution of the levers available frequently results in products not achieving maximum coverage and utilization.


Finding the best path forward is difficult and is tied into a nuanced understanding of how to promote the product in this system. Viewing the Federal market through the lens of the population it is serving is the first step. By investigating the potential population usage size and scope, it is possible to estimate the market’s demands for a product and draw on analogues of similar successes so that a manufacturer can understand the associated predictive analytics for growth, properly focus available resources, and improve a product's utilization.


Formal hindrances to product utilization can range from the simple to the complex and manufacturers must avoid these issues from the start or, at a minimum, address them head-on. Barrier removal or reduction should be the next step in the formal analysis and development of a strategic plan. Reviewing existing criteria for use, formulary placement, and currently selected distribution pathway are a few of the initial topics worthy of exploration. Understanding the impacts associated with each barrier ensures a manufacturer is uniquely informed of alternatives paths forward.


Finally, a deep understanding of the rules related to promotion is critical. From branding permitted on marketing materials to what is and isn’t allowed when visiting a site, manufacturers need to know how improper product promotion reflects on them and can impact their access to providers. It is critical that all members salesforce understands what is acceptable in a market that closely controls access to its facilities and people.


The single factor isolates success is comprehensive, research-driven strategy on which to execute that limits vulnerabilities, overcomes challenges, and enhances the probability of success. While the FSS contract is the door, it is the strategy and execution plan that moves a product to success in this market. We understanding of the complexities of the Federal market and are prepared partner with your team to guide a product’s success.

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