About HDA

Everything Starts With Our Mission

  • Advocate

    for sound public policy that supports patient access to medicines and medical products through safe, efficient and effective distribution.
  • Lead

    the healthcare supply chain on policy issues, business practices and industry guidelines to inform and support member development of innovative solutions.​
  • Convene

    and partner with public and private stakeholders to facilitate discussions on industry issues, provide education and support the sharing of leading practices.​

We Are a Convener of Logistics and Supply Chain Experts

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) is the national organization representing primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. We represent 37 distribution companies — national, regional and specialty — as well as approximately 130 manufacturers and more than 50 service providers.

Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to ensure efficient and reliable delivery of medicines and healthcare products. Throughout this period, the pharmaceutical distribution industry has undergone a rapid evolution as technology has advanced, the market has globalized and the supply chain has become more complex.

Pharmaceutical Distributors

The backbone of the U.S. healthcare ecosystem

Healthcare Ecosystem
Healthcare Ecosystem

Today, distributors provide the logistics expertise, inventory and technology required to keep pharmacy and hospital shelves stocked with the medicines that patients need. They also provide a wide array of supporting services that enable the supply chain to function efficiently and safely, delivering significant value to manufacturers and healthcare providers — and ultimately to patients. As the association representing this dynamic industry, HDA serves as a convener of supply chain and logistics experts, working to ensure patients have access to medicines from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

Beyond HDA’s core member services, the HDA Research Foundation, our nonprofit charitable foundation, serves as the thought leader in driving research, education and discussion for all healthcare supply chain stakeholders. Further, our Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition provides useful insights and intelligence for supply chain security experts with expertise in pharmaceuticals and other sectors.   

Healthcare Distributors Are the Answer.

HDA’s animated video spotlights distributors’ tireless work to make sure hospitals, pharmacies, providers and patients have access to critical medicines and healthcare supplies.

We Are Evolving With the Industry

The distribution industry has transformed, and through the years, so has HDA. Today, HDA’s core membership comprises national, regional and specialty distribution companies. Further, our members are no longer solely focused on distribution, but offer a range of services spanning information management, security and efficiency — all while seeking new ways to innovate. Industry member types include: Distributors, Manufacturers, Service Providers, Consumer Manufacturers and International Distributors.

HDA's History

  • 1876
    Our organization was founded as the Western Wholesale Druggists’ Association (WWDA) on March 15, 1876, during the first annual convention of 95 wholesale druggists (representing 16 cities, from Cleveland to St. Louis, and 11 states) at the Exchange Hall in Indianapolis.

    This first industry meeting was called by Augustus Kiefer to ‘remedy the existing evils in the wholesale drug business, and enable the merchants to carry on business on a more profitable basis.’ At the time, the industry served about 25,000 companies in drugs and medicine. By the end of the first annual convention, the organization had established a variety of committees, among them, those on legislation, ‘adulteration,’ credits and proprietary medicines.
    Original building
    The Daniel Stewart Building in Indianapolis
    Source: HealthCare Distributor
  • 1882
    The WWDA, representing distribution companies and manufacturer members from the Atlantic states and beyond the Mississippi, became the National Wholesale Druggists' Association (NWDA). NWDA continued to advocate on behalf of the distribution industry and the safety, efficiencies and cost-savings distributors bring to the pharmaceutical supply chain.
    NWDA 1882 Logo
    An early NWDA logo.
    Source: HDA
  • 1906
    NWDA its focus to ensuring safety through legislative means — and shaped the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, the foundation for modern drug regulation.
    On the bottle is Dr. Harvey Wiley of the Department of Agriculture. NWDA worked with this champion of pure food and drugs.
    Source: HDA
  • 1956
    In one of NWDA’s first efforts to promote the role of wholesalers to the general public, the organization teamed up with LIFE to publish an easy-to-understand book to educate the American public on the healthcare supply chain.
    Source: Life
  • 1959
    The organization came to recognize its companies and individuals for leadership in business practices, technology, innovations and lifetime achievements, with the establishment of the DIANA Awards in 1959, following the Nexus Award for Lifetime Achievement (first known as the Tim Barry Award) in 1956.
    DIANA award
    At the 94th annual meeting, John C. Davis and his wife present a DIANA Award to the Gillette Company, represented by Thomas J. Kanouse.
    Source: HDA
  • 1978
    NWDA published “The Computer: A Processing Perspective” to help smaller member firms effectively adopt new technologies. In 1978, NWDA created a computerized order entry clearinghouse linking manufacturers to wholesalers nationwide.
    NWDA The Computer Publication
    Source: HDA
  • 1980
    NWDA founded its Research and Education Foundation — now the HDA Research Foundation. The Foundation is HDA's nonprofit charitable foundation, and a thought leader in driving research, education and discussion for all healthcare supply chain stakeholders.
    HDA Research Foundation Founded
    Source: HDA
  • 2001
    At the 2000 NWDA Annual Meeting, it was announced the organization was to be renamed the Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA), reflecting the “Association’s vision of a progressively more efficient and effective distribution system.
    HDMA Renaming
  • 2013
    While under the name of HDMA, the Association successfully advocated for the enactment of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, which preempted a 50-state patchwork of pharmaceutical pedigree laws.
    HDA Research Foundation Founded
    Source: HDA
  • 2014
    HDMA took a global step, organizing the first International Pharmaceutical Distribution Conference (IPDC) in Beijing, China, and drawing members and supply chain participants from throughout Asia to exchange information and expertise on traceability, anti-counterfeiting and safety.
    HDA Organizes IPDC
  • 2016
    HDMA became the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) to reflect the organization’s growing role as a convener of the supply chain both domestically and globally.

    The new HDA was featured in a week-long print and digital ad campaign appearing in Politico, Washington’s leading political and policy news organization.
    HDMA renamed to HDA
    Source: HDA
  • 2016
    In alignment with the renaming of HDA, the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research became the HDA Research Foundation.
    HDA Research Foundation Logo
    Source: HDA
  • 2017
    HDA adds the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC) to its membership services and expertise. Founded in 2006, the PCSC offers a forum for industry security and logistics professionals (in the pharmaceutical sector and beyond) to exchange supply chain risk intelligence.
    PCSC Logo
  • 2018
    With prescription drug abuse reaching crisis levels, HDA convenes key stakeholders to form Allied Against Opioid Abuse, a national education and awareness initiative to prevent the abuse and misuse of opioids. AAOA serves as a centralized information resource, providing education and awareness of the rights, risks and responsibilities related to prescription opioids.
    Doctor signing pledge to pause
  • 2020
    At the emergence of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S., distributors sprang into action to deliver medical supplies, PPE, therapeutics and vaccines to providers on the frontlines, while fulfilling the daily healthcare needs of Americans. HDA supported its members from the very beginning of the crisis by offering a forum for members to coordinate efforts, while working closely with public- and private-sector stakeholders as the situation evolved.
    Supply chain coordination COVID-19
  • 2021
    HDA takes to the airwaves by launching Health Delivered through its first-ever national television ad. Health Delivered is a multiyear, multimedia campaign that raises awareness around the role of healthcare distributors and the value they bring to the healthcare system, patients and their families.
    Members posing
  • 2022
    HDA launches the Faces of the Supply Chain initiative, a component of the Health Delivered campaign. The series aims to bring to life the people behind the scenes of healthcare distribution industry who make the healthcare supply chain work.
    Faces of the Supply Chain

Our Advocacy Work on Behalf of Members 

HDA reviews key priority issues and advocates on behalf of its pharmaceutical distributor members in areas like standards, public policies and business processes. HDA members have a powerful, unique voice and perspective and an opportunity to help educate lawmakers and inform public policy.

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