There are three major categories of ostomy supply dealers. Before you choose a particular supplier, you should be aware of the different services and choices each type offers:
Medical/Surgical Supply Houses - These companies specialize in selling all types of medical supplies. If they focus on ostomy products, they may offer unique services such as ostomy nurses on staff, product recommendations, and troubleshooting advice. They will have a large amount of frequently used supplies in stock, but can also special-order items. You generally purchase products by shopping at their store.
Mail-order Companies - These companies operate on a national level, similar to any mail-order catalog. Once you receive a catalog, you can place an order by phone or by mail. Due to the large volume of supplies they sell, mail order supply houses often provide a discount on prices. They may also have ostomy experts available for consultation. They do offer an easy way to purchase supplies.
Local Drugstores - Due to consolidation and specialization in the industry, fewer and fewer chain drugstores will special-order medical supplies. Still, some of the remaining independent stores often will provide such customized service. They may or may not carry many different brands. However, they may charge higher prices due to a smaller volume.