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As a VAWD accreditation consultant, one of the questions I frequently get asked by prospects and clients is, why does it take so long to get the VAWD accreditation. In most cases, the prospect or client has made or is making one of five avoidable mistakes. By making one or more of these mistakes you can completely derail your attempt to earn the coveted VAWD accreditation leaving you time crunched, budget crunched, and frustrated. This brings me to the first avoidable mistake:

  1. Failure to Plan

In the words of Winston Churchill, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” Obtaining the VAWD accreditation is an on-going long-term project requiring ample planning. One of the first things I do with my clients when I embark on a VAWD project is develop a project plan with goals/milestones to ensure that the project stays on track. This plan will not look the same for every distributor. After all, your project plan is unique to your needs, your budget, your resources, and your timeline. Nothing should be cookie cutter.

  1. Cookie Cutter Submissions

If you intend to submit cookie cutter policies or a contractor/consultant you have retained uses cookie cutter policies in their submissions to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, don’t be surprised if the process slows to a grind halt or your application is ultimately denied. This has been one of the biggest frustrations among the many prospects that I talk with on a weekly basis. They paid consultant “A” a boat load of money to help them get the VAWD accreditation. Said consultant, to save time and maximize profit, submitted the same SOP’s that they developed for distributor “B” whose operational size, processes, and business model vary greatly from theirs. Your business if unique to you so, when it comes to SOP’s write it right!

  1. A Lack of Resources Being Dedicated

The NABP VAWD accreditation is a national quality accreditation that confirms your pharmaceutical business conforms to the highest of regulatory and quality standards. That being said, it always amazes me when I see organizations, handing this project off to the human resources department (misplaced) or to individual contributor roles where there is no decision-making authority. If your designated project manager does not have decision making authority when it comes to the VAWD project, you might be guilty of making this mistake. Put the oversight of the project in the hands of a capable decision maker and make sure you have provided him or her with the resources (i.e. consultants, budget, authority) to succeed.

  1. No Desire to Change

This is one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome. VAWD, albeit for good, will require you to make changes. Some businesses are extremely change averse and convincing them to make changes can be a real challenge. You must be willing to change to achieve accreditation. The reality is that the VAWD accreditation is not going to go away. Every year more and more states recognize the accreditation and more and more states explore implementing VAWD as a prerequisite for state board of pharmacy licensing. Regardless of the outcome of on-going PBM litigation, your market potentially shrinks each year you put off obtaining the VAWD accreditation. Bottom line: If you’re looking to grow your business, you must be willing to accept and adapt to change. Your stake holders will thank you for it.

  1. Failing to Act with Urgency

I see this time and time again. It seems that people want to wait to the last possible minute and throw a hail marry when it comes to this accreditation. However, I would encourage you to remember that you are subject to the timeline of the NABP VAWD review staff and there will always be a back and forth iteration with 30-45 days between correspondences. If you are not approaching the VAWD accreditation process with urgency, you have in-fact made two critical mistakes. You have failed to plan and failed to act with urgency. Every day you delay committing to the VAWD project, you diminish your chances of success and increase your chances of loosing licenses and customers.