Inside: Don’t miss out on offering the popular pharmacy niche services patients are looking for. Here are the top ones you’ll want to try.
Most independent community pharmacies stick with what they know. They don’t specialize or branch out. They do what they’ve done for years. Fill prescriptions.
Many also close their doors.
You know your pharmacy isn’t just any pharmacy.
You have a dedicated staff and the kind of friendly customer service that only comes from a community pharmacy. Still, as reimbursements for dispensing decrease and competition for the same patients intensifies, you need to consider what else you can offer.
Look beyond the traditional areas of pharmacy.
Separate your pharmacy from the other options out there by specializing in specific niche services. When you focus on a certain niche, you create more value for your patients, which translates into more pharmacy traffic. (And profits.)
These seven growing niche services are ones to consider starting at your pharmacy right away.
1. Veterinary medicine
Want to grab a booming—or maybe barking in this case—market of patients?
Look to the beloved family pet. Filling prescriptions for common animal conditions can mean extra revenue for your business.
And, what’s even better than gaining a new patient base? Keeping all the profits. Even though Rover and Princess may be part of the family, they aren’t insured, which means PBMs can’t take a cut of your profit for pet prescriptions.
If your pharmacy already offers compounding, consider adding veterinary compounding to your list of services.
Also, talk with your local vets to let them know that you offer veterinary compounding and will gladly work with them. Build a good relationship with local vets and they’ll likely start referring furry patients to your pharmacy.
Want to learn more? Here’s everything your pharmacy needs to know about gaining a share of the veterinary medicine market.
2. Immunizations and vaccines, specifically travel vaccines
Every year, more of your patients are turning to you for their vaccinations. Independent pharmacies are especially convenient locations for patients to get their flu, pneumonia, and shingles immunizations.
And, when you offer immunizations you create opportunities to increase revenue.
Pharmacies can bill separately for immunizations, often at a good margin. And many states continue to expand the immunizations pharmacists can administer.
Seventy-four percent of independent pharmacies offered immunizations in 2016, according to the 2017 NCPA Digest. So, if you already provide immunizations to patients, consider expanding into travel vaccines. (Like this independent pharmacy did.)
And get more out of your popular immunization services. Consider offering group discounts to local businesses or non-profit organizations to bring in more business. Or, provide workplace flu clinics.
Want to learn more? Here’s what your pharmacy needs to know about immunizations and vaccines.
Get back to pharmacy’s roots with compounding services. When you compound custom medications, your pharmacy provides a personal service that patients can’t get elsewhere.
But you don’t have to break the bank to outfit your pharmacy in a clean room and protective suits. You can start small. Offer a few compounding services you can provide with a mortar and pestle and go from there.
Compounding is one of the best niche services you can offer because of its ability to help patients and also increase your business’s profitability.
Reasons compounding is a profitable service:
- National chain pharmacies don’t offer it
- Creates new revenue streams
- Option to offer as a cash-only service
Plus, you already received compounding training in pharmacy school. But if you need more, pharmacy associations and compounding suppliers offer hands-on training for whatever stage you’re at.
Learn everything from the start-up costs of compounding to the regulations involved and the ways you can specialize in it.
4. Diabetes care
Approximately 30 million Americans have diabetes. That’s 9 percent of the population and a lot of potential patients for your pharmacy.
Independent pharmacists are well positioned to address patients’ diabetes education and to help monitor and treat their condition.
Stocking diabetic supplies in your pharmacy, such as test strips, a variety of meters to suit different patients, and control solutions, is a good start. Adding sugar-free candy, compression socks, and even diabetic cookbooks to your inventory can also increase revenue.
Another option is to offer diabetic shoes and become certified to fit them.
Want to learn more? Here are five ways to improve your pharmacy’s diabetes care.
5. Hospital discharges
As patients prepare to move from the hospital back home, your independent pharmacy can provide services to help smooth the transition for both the patients and their caregivers.
Patients and their caregivers are often confused about the medication regimens the hospital prescribed. Be that liaison to help educate them.
And monetize the opportunity by using the time to suggest your medication synchronization program or medication reconciliation services.
When you review patients’ entire medication regimen, you can ensure they take all the right prescriptions. And, you can help them avoid any negative interactions with new medications and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
You’ll help patients and create additional revenue for your business.
Transitions-of-care also create a retail opportunity for your pharmacy. When patients with acute or chronic care conditions are discharged from the hospital, they often need non-prescription products too.
Retail products discharged patients may need include:
- Bathroom safety aids
- Canes and crutches
- Daily living aids
- Walkers and rollators
- Wearables for monitoring
- Weight management products
- Wound care products
Want to learn more? Use these strategies to reduce hospital readmissions and assist in transitions of care.
6. Lab testing
Lab testing is emerging as a new and profitable service pharmacies can offer to their patients.
Pharmacies today use various organizations to offer health screenings, point-of-care testing, and pharmacogenomics lab testing.
But overall, the point is that the pharmacy serves as the access point for these tests.
Whether pharmacists recommend the tests or patients request them, patients are increasingly looking to the convenience of their local pharmacy for health services like this.
Want to learn more? Discover how offering lab tests can increase pharmacy revenue, differentiate the business, and offer patients a beneficial health service.
7. Health education
One of the often-missed niche services your pharmacy can offer is health education.
Position your pharmacy as the health education center in your area. Your pharmacists could solely host health education classes. Or, team up with nutritionists or nurses in your community.
You could charge a small fee for the classes. Or, use them as a vehicle to promote your pharmacy’s other services. For example, host a free healthy living class for seniors and use some of the time to discuss your medication synchronization program.
Health education creates lots of opportunities for partnerships. And partnerships can promote your pharmacy’s services to a wider audience of people who may never have found you.
Potential organizations you can partner with to host education classes include:
- Coffee shops
- Community centers
- Fitness centers
- Senior centers
- Yoga studios
Don’t be the pharmacy that never does something different. Start one of these niche services to grow your business fast.
A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.