FDA Registered 503B Outsourcing Facility

Meet Jonathan Michailides: Prioritizing Customer Service for Every Veterinary Specialty Hospital

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If you’re a veterinary specialty hospital in the Northeast – or anywhere in the United States – you’ve likely heard from Jonathan Michailides, one of Epicur’s Vet Specialist Sales Representatives. A graduate of Rhode Island College, he has years of experience in human medical and veterinary sales and a soft spot for rescue dogs. We caught up with Jonathan to learn more about his role and what his veterinary specialist customers can expect when they work with him.

Meet Jonathan!

Tell us about your role at Epicur and your work in veterinary sales.

I focus on sales with specialty hospitals primarily in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New England, and Delaware. But my philosophy is to leave no stone unturned, so I contact a wide range of people. I don’t pick and choose; I want to reach everyone I can to explore partnership opportunities. I travel within my territory and then attend various trade shows all over the country which allows me to connect with vet specialists I may not meet in my typical region.

I’ve been in sales a long time and the ultimate goal for me is to really help people. To know you’re helping someone who can’t help themselves is amazing. That’s why I love working in the veterinary industry. You can’t necessarily get a ‘thank you’ when you’re helping an animal, but as any pet owner out there knows, that animal is family so there are a lot of ‘thank yous’ sent your way when you help.

Are you a pet owner?

I was! My first dog was a rescue on her way to be euthanized. I think she knew she was a rescue because she was just the best dog. Even my father said she’s been the best dog he’s ever seen. She was a mixed breed of miniature Greyhound Whippet and American Stafford terrier. I had her for almost 10 years.

So, even though I don’t work directly with animals I know that I’m helping. I think it’s fantastic.

Before joining the Epicur team you worked in other 503B sales. How does that experience influence your work at Epicur?

Yes, I previously worked at human 503B facilities, and that experience has been very helpful. Fundamentally, sales are the same across industries. What’s hard is learning about new products to sell. It was a big advantage for me to have the background and understanding that 503B is all about the quality of the product. This made it easy for me to come in with confidence and quickly learn about the specific drugs we make.

That background in 503B regulations, testing, and terminology must make conversations with vet specialists easier too. How do you communicate the advantages of partnering with an outsourcing facility like Epicur?  

I keep it as simple as possible. Beyond our extensive portfolio, I point to the differences between a 503A compounding pharmacy and a 503B manufacturer. It’s easy to get lost in the terminology and regulations, so I just try to explain the advantage Epicur provides with examples they would be familiar with, like testing and stock for dispensing. Once I explain that 503A products are typically untested for quality such as potency and sterility whereas 503B products are required to test for consistent quality and are regulated by the FDA, it grabs their attention.

For many customers, the advantage that strikes them is compliance. There are state regulations and requirements for veterinary hospitals that stock and dispense drugs as an in-house pharmacy. If a state official goes into a veterinary practice for an inspection and examines the drug stock on the shelves, it’s likely they will request the logs of where all the products came from. There is a risk for expenses and penalties if those drugs aren’t from a regulated 503B. Remaining compliant can be a big weight lifted for many veterinary practices.

Is your practice compliant?

Download our eBook, Establishing & Managing Veterinary Dispensing Best Practices, for tips on improving profitability and pharmacy benchmarks.

What products in Epicur’s portfolio can make the biggest difference in a practice’s compliance or office stock?

Apomorphine is a big one. You have to keep that stocked in emergency vet clinics and if it’s not coming from a regulated 503B manufacturer it complicates the process. We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from customers about being able to order Apomorphine unscripted. This reduces the risk of leaving it on the shelf for emergencies and having it ready to go.

You’ve been in sales a long time. What’s the key to great, loyal customer relationships?

You’ve got to learn about your audience and learn them quickly. It’s important to show people respect whether you’re speaking to a doctor, a nurse, nurse technician, janitor, or receptionist. If you respect them, they will generally respect you back and most people prefer to buy from someone they like. So, you find some sort of common ground in your conversation and start building that relationship.

It’s not about downplaying the competition; the focus should be on upselling yourself. The competition in veterinary 503B is growing, but we know the strength of our portfolio, so we stay focused on our capabilities. Epicur’s promise that everything ships within 24-48 hours of ordering is a big advantage for specialty or emergency veterinary practices.

Benefits like that go hand-in-hand with customer service, which is another way I build strong relationships. I make sure customers know I am always available if they need something and get them quick responses if I miss their call. Epicur is dedicated to customers that way, we’re always available and ready to help.

Want to meet with Jonathan? Connect with him on LinkedIn!

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