Natural Products: Is It Time to Add These to Your Front End?

Natural Products: Is It Time to Add These to Your Front End? by Elements magazine |

If you’re not already incorporating natural products and remedies into your pharmacy’s front end, now might be the time.

Natural products and remedies, also known as complementary and alternative medicines, are gaining popularity. Offering a selection of the most popular natural products is no longer a front-end niche; it’s expected.

Offering a natural product and remedy selection is a great way for your pharmacy to help patients who might not need a prescription, but who are still looking for symptom-relief. And, your expertise and counseling will give your natural product selection more value than natural departments in big box pharmacies.

Here’s a look at the benefits of incorporating natural products into your front end, and what your natural section needs.

Natural is gaining popularity

Natural products and remedies are growing in popularity among all patient age groups.

In 2012, 33.2 percent of U.S. adults used complementary health approaches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And, approximately 12 percent of children are using some form of complementary and alternative medicine, according to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Natural products no longer just apply to a small segment of the population. Instead, these remedies are widely used and are an expected front-end offering.

Natural is an opportunity to showcase your expertise

Patients often require advice when selecting over-the-counter (OTC) products, and natural remedies are no different. When you and your staff take the time to step out from behind the counter to make recommendations and counsel patients, you add value to your pharmacy—and your natural product selection.

Be sure to stock products you feel comfortable recommending, or counseling patients about. Also, it helps if you carry products that you or your staff uses, so you can talk about the product from personal experience. This advice is essential to differentiating your natural product section.

Natural is an alternative option

When patients have a virus, or another illness that doesn’t warrant a prescribed antibiotic, but they still need symptoms relief, natural remedies can be a big help.

Steering patients toward these natural remedies may help reduce the use of unnecessary antibiotics. And, when patients are feeling a little run down in the future, instead of going straight to a doctor’s office for an unnecessary prescription, they might remember your pharmacy and opt for your natural remedies to relieve their symptoms instead.

Natural products to stock

When you decide to create a natural section for your front end, curating the right selection of natural products is key.

Stock products that you trust, that you’re comfortable counseling patients about, and that you and your staff use, so you can make honest recommendations about the products. Providing patients with your expertise is key to making your natural section a success.

Here are some essential products for your pharmacy’s natural front-end section.

Neti pot
Suggest this product to patients with congestion from a cold or to those suffering from allergies. Patients who want to avoid the side effects of cold medication will appreciate this natural way to relieve their congestion.

Hot/cold water bottle
This natural product is perfect for everything from soothing sore muscles to holding against a child’s bruised knee. It’s a product every household needs, and a cornerstone product for your natural front-end section.

Vitamin C
This supplement is a popular product, especially during cold and flu season. Keep it on hand and be sure to recommend it to patients as a natural supplement to any other cold and flu medication they might be taking.

Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is a natural remedy used to treat everything from sleeplessness to soothing upset stomachs. Carry a variety of tea brands and recommend them to patients who might be taking an antibiotic or other drug that can cause an upset stomach.

Honey is always a good option to help soothe sore throats. Consider stocking local honey in your pharmacy. Some people even eat local honey as a remedy for seasonal allergies, and if you stock local varieties, you’ll be supporting local businesses and providing a product that national chain and big box pharmacies can’t match.

Vitamin B complex
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) advises pharmacists to consider recommending B12 supplements to their patients with anemia and to patients taking acid reflux medication, which may cause a reduced calcium absorption rate. A B12 supplement could help balance patients’ regimens and naturally boost their energy levels.

Start building your front-end natural production section to better serve patients.

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

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