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Latest news and updates about the Medicare and pharmacy industries.

Is Your Independent Pharmacy Built for Bottom-Line Success in the Small Things?

Posted on May 13, 2020 by AAP

Your brand Rx cost of goods is one of the largest factors affecting your independent pharmacy’s bottom line, but it isn’t the only one. Inefficient processes or small losses that may seem insignificant now could mean a huge difference for your profitability later.  

Let’s look at some of the things you should watch for when evaluating the best independent pharmacy business solutions to build your bottom line.

1. Don’t Lose Your Specialty Patients

Patients on a specialty drug have an average of 13 additional prescriptions, according to Specialty Pharmacy Times Magazine. A majority of these are maintenance prescriptions your pharmacy can fill, but only if these specialty patients continue to come to your pharmacy. They may not return if they are directed to a pharmacy other than yours for their specialty needs, and the specialty drug market is one of the fastest growing. Specialty drugs are expected to account for 50% of the drug market by as soon as this year (2020).

It’s in your best interest to be able to help patients who need these medications, and the good news is that you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to become certified as a specialty pharmacy yourself. There are programs available to help you keep your specialty patients in your pharmacy while making sure they’re provided with quality specialty care. 

2. Keep a Unique Front End

Front-end products can carry a profit margin up to 15% higher than prescriptions. This possibility of up to 38% for OTCs and other front-end merchandise, much greater than the average of 22% on prescriptions, is a clear opportunity. Are you taking full advantage of that knowledge?

Rather than only stocking items your patients could find in any big-box retail store, you have the opportunity in your pharmacy to be unique. Basic supplements like vitamins are essential and can bring in a hefty amount of revenue. Don’t leave them out! But you can do more. You can carry the variety of over-the-counter products that big-box stores are spread too thin to offer.

There is a wealth of niche markets to branch into. From specialized health products to pet pharmaceuticals and diabetic footwear, do what only you can do. Take your cues from your community or target market. Attract patients who might otherwise have to travel long distances to find the products they need or order blind from online sources. They’ll be glad you’re there.

3. Streamline Ordering

Save precious time by streamlining your ordering process. Having a plan and a robust ordering system will go a long way in this area. Make sure your system will keep an order queue consistent across devices to avoid redundant spending, automatically submit orders to keep you from missing deadlines, and make the process as efficient as possible. Don’t waste time typing in numbers, dragging bottles to a stationary scanner, or ordering from multiple websites. 

Do your research and find a solution that offers all the flexibility you need in your setup!

4. Capitalize on Service Opportunities

Providing beneficial health services for your community builds reputation for your pharmacy and loyalty among your patients. It also provides another revenue stream for your business. Are you providing vaccinations, consulting, or diagnostic testing?

By obtaining a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, your pharmacy can become a testing facility for simple procedures such as strep testing and new COVID-19 testing. The application process is easy, and appropriate training is readily available from the CDC. You should always check with your state pharmacy board to be sure you’re aware of your state’s requirements, but quick diagnostic testing for your patients is too valuable an opportunity to be ignored. Position your pharmacy as a key health center for your community, and your bottom line will see the results.

About the Author

As a cooperative of over 2,000 member pharmacies with an independently owned warehouse and specialty pharmacy and qualified preferred partners, American Associated Pharmacies (AAP) is so much more than a buying group. AAP provides the tools and resources needed for members to improve their bottom lines, such as business intelligence tools, a powerful proprietary ordering system that syncs across devices, and more! Visit RxAAP.com/ProveIt to learn more.

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