Oftentimes, it’s hard for pharmacists to keep their business afloat. Their role is constantly changing, and COVID-19 hasn’t made life easier for anyone - pharmacists included. With so much responsibility on their shoulders, it can be difficult to maintain, no less increase, profits and keep the pharmacy doors open.
This difficulty stems from a number of reasons that we’ll explain in this article.
1. Increased Roles and Responsibility
Pharmacists are trusted figureheads in their community. Their job entails much more than simply handing out medicine and calling it a day. Patients trust them for sound medical advice, and value the strong relationships that pharmacists create with the community.
Because of all these responsibilities, pharmacists are often overworked. With so much to do, undoubtedly there will be an area of work that suffers. So much to do and so little time to do it can take away from patient care and community outreach, two integral facets of being a hometown pharmacist. Roles being unfulfilled can lead to decreased profits.
2. Smaller Reimbursements
Smaller margins, declining reimbursements, and an onslaught of DIR fees can cause a pharmacy to lose profits. DIR fees have increased over 1600% in the last five years, and 87% of pharmacists reported that those sky-high DIR fees affected their business’s performance.
It’s difficult to combat this problem. A solution can come in the form of expanding clinical services and exploring opportunities for reimbursement, but usually these two remedies don’t come without their fair share of costs - in the form of both money and time.
3. Poor Patient Satisfaction
When patients are satisfied, the profits will show it. But unfortunately, it’s common for patient satisfaction to be lower than desired because independent pharmacists are stretched too thin.
In order to abate this problem, shift your focus onto retaining existing patients instead of attracting new ones. It costs less, and building those strong community relationships is an important part of being a successful pharmacist.
4. Medication Adherence
When patients take their medications correctly, it’s good for the patient and good for the pharmacist. When they don’t, there’s a higher risk for complications and poor results. For a patient, not adhering to medication can lead, at best, to treatment failure. At worst, it can lead to death. For the pharmacy, patients not abiding to medical adherence means missed refills, and missed refills mean missed profits.
5. Retail Chains
It’s difficult for independent pharmacies to compete with large names like CVS and Walgreens because they don’t have corporate backing. They have to find a way to stay in business, but it’s not so easy without the support to do so.
The key is finding ways to differentiate your pharmacy from chain stores. Create a homey, reliable place that your customers will want to come back to, or advertise special offers that the large name pharmacies won’t.
6. Outdated or Nonexistent Technology
Nowadays, technology is a huge part of the pharmaceutical world. Many people depend on technology for automatic refills, quick questions, and analytics. A pharmacy without functioning technology (or one without any technology at all) will surely suffer when it comes to profits, because the lack of digitization will put many customers off.
In order to remain competitive, it’s integral to either implement a digital system, or revamp the one you already have.
Though modern independent pharmacies are walking against the wind, it is possible to keep doors open. You just have to find ways to increase profit, ways that work for you and your business.