25 Unexpected Ways to Monetize Your Pharmacy

25 Unexpected Ways to Monetize Your Pharmacy by Elements magazine | pbahealth.com

Your independent community pharmacy is facing shrinking reimbursements and fiercer competition every year. No matter how many prescriptions you fill, you’re not making as much money as you hoped.

Because of these challenges, you need to take every opportunity to generate revenue. If you have more revenue streams flowing into your pharmacy, you can make up for lost margins.

And, you can find those revenue streams in surprising places.

Here are 25 unexpected ways to monetize your pharmacy.

1. Return expired drugs

When expired products go unreturned, you leave money on the shelf.

If you’re overwhelmed by the logistics of returns, hire a returns company. It can to help you navigate the challenges of returning drugs for credit.

You’ll get the most out of your pharmacy’s expired products.

2. Offer flu shots

Pharmacies can earn a decent margin on every flu shot they provide, which can number in the hundreds.

Profitability for flu vaccines is 50 to 100 percent above the cost of the vaccines alone.

And, offering flu shots can also bring more foot traffic to your pharmacy. This means more opportunities to sell your other services.

3. Start a smoking cessation program

Offering a smoking cessation program at your pharmacy can help the 69 percent of adult smokers who say they want to quit smoking.

That’s a large population of patients you can either attract to your pharmacy or keep coming back.

A smoking cessation program helps patients quit for good. And, that reduces their risk for smoking-related diseases.

Patients will see the benefits you’re providing them that other pharmacies aren’t.

4. Sell supplementary diabetes products

Many of your patients suffer from diabetes. Help them by stocking diabetes-related supplies in your front end.

Diabetes-related supplies to stock:

  • Test strips
  • Blood glucose meters
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Compression socks
  • Diabetic shoes
  • Diabetic cookbooks

These supplies will help your patients and increase revenue.

5. Provide travel vaccinations

In 2016, Americans took 2.2 billion trips.

People need to protect their health while traveling abroad. But they often find it difficult to locate a place that offers the vaccines they need.

Make your pharmacy their pre-travel destination. Offering travel vaccinations can boost your sales and bring in new patients.

6. Offer compounding services

Compounding allows pharmacists to use their unique skills to provide personalized medications for patients. It also earns extra revenue for the pharmacy.

The margins for compounded prescriptions are high because patients typically pay with cash rather than insurance

7. Build referral relationships

Referrals are one of the fastest ways to get new patients to come to your pharmacy.

Work with area physicians and let them know about the products, services, and specialty care your pharmacy offers.

You can also encourage patients to make referrals to their friends or family with retail discounts for every new referral they make

8. Boost your community profile

Attract new patients (and revenue) by raising your pharmacy’s community profile.

Ways to support your community:

  • Sell area schools’ fan gear
  • Take part in checkout charity to benefit local organizations
  • Host community events

9. Pair services and products

Pair popular services you offer with relevant products you sell to boost revenue.

For example, if a patient takes a smoking cessation class, recommend supplementary products, such as nicotine gum or lozenges, to help make quitting easier

10. Expand your front-end selection

Stock front-end products shoppers can’t find elsewhere. Offering new and unexpected items can help boost sales.

Unique products to stock:

  • Homemade soap
  • Natural skincare products
  • Local honey
  • Gifts made by local artisans

These product categories can set your pharmacy apart from big box retailers and connect your business to the community.

11. Make more recommendations

Recommending front-end products is a great way to increase sales with current patients.

Use your knowledge to suggest products to help patients address a health need, such as the best eye drops to use during allergy season.

Or, suggest products that pair well with a prescription, such as a probiotic with an antibiotic.

12. Strategically merchandise your front end

Encourage your current patients to browse your aisles with fresh merchandise and new displays.

Rearrange products to encourage impulse buys and to highlight seasonal items.

Make sure your front end always has something new or looks different. Patients will enjoy exploring each time they visit your pharmacy.

13. Leverage partnerships

Cultivate meaningful community partnerships with local public health offices, area employers, schools or regional charities.

These partnerships can help raise your pharmacy’s profile in the community and create awareness among potential patients about what your pharmacy has to offer.

14. Make your pharmacy pet-friendly

Americans spent $66 billion on their pets in 2016.

Cater to your patients’ furry friends to differentiate your pharmacy and boost your bottom line.

Ways to increase revenue with pet patients:

  • Dispense pet medications
  • Offer compounding for pet meds, such as flavoring
  • Sell pet products in your front end
  • Partner with a veterinarian

15. Provide specialty pharmacy services

Specialty is the fastest-growing segment of the pharmacy industry.

And specialty drugs are the most expensive drugs. Specialty medications make up less than 1 percent of prescriptions dispensed, but account for 27.7 percent of total pharmacy spending in the U.S.

Help patients and boost profits by dispensing specialty medications.

16. Offer natural products

Over-the-counter (OTC) natural remedies are growing in popularity.

And when you take the time to step out from behind the counter to make recommendations and counsel patients about natural products, you add value to your pharmacy—and to your natural product selection.

17. Start a flavoring service

A flavoring service is easy to start. And, it offers convenience, ease, and a little fun for patients who have children.

When kids get to choose their medicine’s flavor, they’re more willing to take their medicine. Which makes the medicine-taking process less of a headache for parents.

Plus, charging for flavoring a prescription adds extra revenue.

18. Adopt a front-end niche

Whether it’s pet products or diabetes care, developing a front-end niche can differentiate your pharmacy.

Commit to offering a great selection of niche-specific products that will set your pharmacy apart from the competition.

Be ready to offer advice and guidance to help patients choose the right products for them.

19. Provide wound care

Wound care is unique among front-end categories because patients usually purchase the products as a result of an acute need. And, they’re not price-sensitive.

Pharmacies can rely on this category for consistent, large profit margins, sometimes of more than 40 percent.

Set your wound care products apart by going beyond traditional first-aid tapes, gauze dressings, and bandages.

Consider stocking these unique products:

  • Scar treatment products
  • Anti-parasitic products
  • Skin protectant
  • Anti-itch products
  • Antibiotics
  • Dressings for burns
  • Wound drainage products
  • Bedsore creams
  • Diabetic ulcer healing cream
  • Products for general wound healing

20. Offer health screenings

Provide health screenings at your pharmacy to help patients detect serious undiagnosed conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.

These services help patients who like the convenience of your pharmacy (rather than waiting in a doctor’s office.)

And, charging for these services boosts revenue

21. Start a curbside pickup program

Providing patients with the option to pick up their prescriptions at the curb gives them the convenience of a drive-thru. And, you don’t have to go through a costly remodel.

A curbside pickup program strengthens your customer service and highlights how simple it is to use your pharmacy.

22. Offer pharmacogenetic testing

Add another revenue stream with pharmacogenetic testing.

Pharmacogenetic testing reveals which medications will work best for patients based on their genetics.

Benefits of pharmacogenetic testing:

  • Can improve the efficacy of a patient’s medication therapy
  • Boost adherence rates
  • Positively influence Star Ratings
  • Increase patient loyalty

23. Assist in transitions of care

Helping patients transition between the hospital and the home provides a significant retail opportunity.

Pharmacies can provide products to complement the prescriptions patients need during a transition. These services help patients and increase the pharmacy’s bottom line.

Retail products for transitional patients should cover the activities of daily living (ADLs) that patients in the recovery period or those living with a chronic condition need.

24. Help your patients be well

Patients today are looking for more than a remedy to illness. They want to be well.

Monetize your pharmacy by becoming the one-stop shop for patients’ health.

Ways to keep patients happy and healthy:

  • Offer nutritional supplements and vitamins
  • Provide preventative health services, like health screenings
  • Offer wellness education, like nutrition workshops

25. Improve your buying

Ninety percent of your business is prescription drug sales. So, the best way to make money is to increase those margins.

The deal you get on your primary wholesaler contract determines how well you can buy. Because of shrinking reimbursements, it also determines how profitable you can be.

Are you buying as well as you can?

Consider using a service like ProfitGuard, a primary wholesaler contract negotiation service. ProfitGuard drives gross margin improvement by negotiating—and managing—better primary wholesaler contracts for pharmacies. It guarantees better pricing, rebates, and payment terms. ProfitGuard members have averaged between $70,800 and $212,400 in annual savings on their cost of goods.

“It’s the industry game changer for the independent pharmacy owner or operator,” says Huy Duong, owner of Dale’s Pharmacy in Colorado. “There’s nothing out there like it on the market.”

In the case that your primary wholesaler doesn’t have what you need, you’ll need a reliable secondary supplier waiting in the wings.

BuyLine®,  an NABP-accredited secondary supplier, offers a full line of brands, generics, OTCs, and controls at the lowest prices in the secondary market. In addition to having low list prices, BuyLine also rewards purchases with cash rebates and significant discounts on brands. Earn up to an additional 10% cash rebate on generics and up to WAC -4% on brand.

With online ordering and next-day shipping options, shopping with BuyLine is quick and convenient. There are absolutely no commitments with BuyLine — no fees, no contracts.

Take advantage of these opportunities to monetize your pharmacy.


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.

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Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

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