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Challenges Independent Pharmacies Face Today

Every business experiences challenges, and independent pharmacies are no different. As healthcare becomes more and more digital, the business of independent pharmacies grows more demanding and more difficult.

This article will outline the challenges that independent pharmacies face today, along with solutions to these present problems.

1. Increased DIR Fees and Decreased Reimbursements

Studies show that increased DIR fees were the number one business problem for independent pharmacies in 2020. They can lead to a decline in reimbursements due to prescriptions sold below cost - and this discrepancy caused a large number of independent pharmacies to close down for good.

This issue can be avoided by encouraging patients to manage their own prescriptions. You can do this by utilizing automated refill reminders, home delivery, or mail ordering.

2. Attracting and Maintaining New Patients

Building a patient base from the ground up is a challenge in itself, but it’s also challenging to maintain the patients that you already have. The number of independent pharmacies is steadily decreasing because many people want a seamless pharmaceutical experience that they don’t think they can get through an independent pharmacy - but that just isn’t true.

In order to keep the customers you already have and attract new ones, your pharmacy needs to remain up-to-date with an online presence. The process of refilling medications and contacting a pharmacist can be done quickly and easily through an online portal, and it’s convenient for the busy patient. By having a functioning and responsive website and/or app, patients will want to give you their business.

It’s also a good idea to offer on-demand services for people who are on-the-go - services like telehealth that make communicating about medication easy.

3. Making the Right Technology Choices

In a market where the digital presence is ever-growing, many independent pharmacies struggle to keep up. Technology often changes faster than they can get a good hold on it, or they simply don’t have the budget to implement new digital offerings.

Getting caught up in the web of technology can be avoided by simply doing what’s best for your pharmacy. You don’t have to be stuck in the past, but you don’t have to be the most updated and newfangled place, either. Something that customers love about independent pharmacies is their ability to feel like home, so if you don’t have every new gadget, that’s fine. By employing the technology that best suits your needs and the needs of your customers, you’re on the path to success.

4. Declining Cash Flow and Margins

Lately, cash flow has been declining for independent pharmacies across the United States. Studies show that less than 3% of patients who come in don’t make any other purchases, which creates a lack of revenue.

The solution to this problem comes with building a service that caters to your customers’ needs. If you can arrange your store differently so easier purchases are in sight at the register, do so. Sometimes, the solution is as simple as a change in layout.


Looking to grow your pharmacy? Zillscript offers Provider Engagement Services. The most tried and true way to increase a pharmacy’s script volume. Schedule a discovery call with a member of our sales team to get started.


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