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Suppliers and distributors are positioning themselves to take Baxter's place within the Voluntary Hospitals of America network if Baxter fails to deliver on its promise to maintain the high distribution standards set by Stuart Medical Inc.
Baxter International Inc., Deerfield, Ill., is set to acquire the Greensburg, Pa.-based Stuart's during the second quarter of 1993. Baxter has vowed to maintain the same level of Stuart's service after the deal is finalized (See January 1993 Health Industry Today). But the Irving, Texas-based VHA's 800-plus members are concerned that the quality of service will plummet and prices will rise in the wake of Baxter's pending $376 million purchase of the third-largest distributor of hospital supplies.
Concern is so great that VHA headquarters had to soothe fears through a phone and facsimile conference with its members in early January. The session also was used by VHA to assure members it will compel Baxter to live up to the standards set by Stuart's. "We will be working with Baxter to ensure that current programs remain in place and will be working with Baxter ... to further improve these enhanced offerings," states the VHA's memo to members.
Baxter in January signed a major distribution agreement with Johnson & Johnson Medical Inc., Arlington, Texas. Under the agreement, effective March 1, Baxter will distribute J&J's entire medical-surgical product line through Baxter's Hospital Supply Division. Baxter will also dispense all products in the fracture management line of Johnson & Johnson Orthopaedics Inc., New Brunswick, N.J.
This marriage between J&J and Baxter is apparently prodding other major …