Peto cause a stir in Spend Matters (and elsewhere) with health procurement website

We featured Peto a couple of weeks ago here  – and  here. They're a start-up, providing a catalogue and price comparison web-site for suppliers and buyers of medical equipment and health-related products and services.

NHS staff using Peto to compare prices for his 'n her stethoscopes

Our posts provoked some interesting, informed and wide ranging comments – I’d thoroughly recommend you read them (see the links in the paragraph above) if this is an area of interest.

Comments ranged through the need for caution in "product rating" type websites; the role of clinicians in the process; suppliers worried about Peto being another cost for them without a guarantee of business; a discussion around the need for better supplier master data; the need for the NHS to have fewer suppliers; the benefits of using a Science Warehouse catalogue management / e-procurement system; and a cri de coeur from another supplier, highlighting the fact that NHS procurement is far from perfect! I guess we sort of suspected that...

Getting a product listed on the NHS Supply Chain catalogue does not guarantee any sales, you still need a salesforce of reps to drive the sales within all the various trusts. As a foreign manufacturer without its own UK sales force, this means my company is obliged to use Distributors to provide this service for us. As a result, our prices are double what they would be if I could meet a National buyer and agree a deal that would ensure consumption of a known quantity of product.Until this fundamental is changed, the UK will remain a high price market compared to Germany or France due the lack of any purchasing organisation within the NHS.

Anyway, Peto will undoubtedly make some of the players in the wider healthcare procurement and supply space nervous. That might include some suppliers, who have often used divide and rule tactics, exploiting the less savvy buyers. Regional buying organisations may feel exposed if their pricing is proved to be not as good as they claim to their users. And NHS Supply Chain will have to decide whether to embrace Peto, ignore it, or offer some competitive market intelligence product.

On the other hand, any supplier or collaborative buying organisation who is confident of their pricing (and quality, once the buyer rating functionality becomes relevant)  may see Peto as a real positive!

Indeed, the quality and quantity of the comments we received, and the very fact that many organisations are taking notice, does support the idea that Peto is a genuinely “disruptive” entrant to this market. And that perhaps also explains the good level of coverage the firm has obtained in other media outlets, right up to national press level; here’s an example from the “This is Money” website, and here’s a Guardian on-line article from Julian Trent, the MD of Peto.

As we said before, we’ll be keeping an interested eye on Peto to see just what effect they do have on this huge and important market.

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