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The Evolution of the Independent Pharmacy

2 years ago  •  Add Comment  •  by Donna Bliss

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, evolution is a continuous change in a certain direction. Typically this is a growth that moves from a lower status towards a higher or better state of existence. To remain relevant, todays independent pharmacies must look for ways to evolve and adapt to their ever-changing environment. To do this, it is imperative that they recognize that the old way of doing business is becoming extinct. Considering that America’s pharmacists have been recognized as one of the most trusted professions in the country, and that the independent pharmacy itself is vital to rural America, their survival in today’s marketplace is crucial.

Growing an Independent Pharmacy Business

One of the most important stages of the evolutionary process for pharmacies needs to be an emphasis on finding ways to grow their business, especially when faced with revenue deficits that are caused by declining medication reimbursement rates. Pharmacies expansion into health care and other related services could be just what the doctor ordered to make that happen.

Independent pharmacies are finding ways to get paid for more than just dispensing medicine by contracting with health plans to help care for patients. Through patient follow ups as well as medication adherence programs the pharmacies are acting as paid liaisons for the providers. Not only is this a win-win for the patients, it also allows the independent pharmacy to grow their business as they evolve from pharmacist to provider by adding these much-needed services.

The independent pharmacy can also be the master of their own destiny by doing what they can to remain competitive in a David & Goliath marketplace where the big-chain pharmacies seem to pop up on every corner. Being forced to be competitive with these pharmacy behemoths can actually be a good thing, since the independent pharmacy will have to shake things up if they are going to keep their doors open. More and more pharmacies are looking to automate in the hope that they can remain competitive with the larger chains. Not only does this improve efficiency by allowing them to dispense prescriptions faster, but it can also help free up the pharmacist and other staff so that they can focus primarily on their patient’s needs.

The Independent Pharmacy and Complacency

Since complacency is the enemy of creativity, the independent pharmacy can’t afford to fall prey to this mentality if they hope to survive in today’s marketplace. The worst thing that the independent pharmacy can do is ignore the rapidly changing arena that now exists by keeping their head buried in the proverbial sand.

Larger chains are moving away from the status quo by offering in-store clinics and other primary care services that can potentially save the patient an expensive trip to the doctor’s office. By making the transition from medication reimbursement reliance to getting reimbursed for services that keep their patients healthier, the independent pharmacy can climb out of the soup of complacency by avoiding the ‘business as usual’ mindset.

Evolve to Thrive

The survival of the independent pharmacy hinges on their ability to evolve in their industry. To do this they must focus on making changes that can grow their business while recognizing that if they’re to remain competitive with the big chain pharmacies they must reject complacency by finding ways to stay relevant in this ever-evolving business landscape.

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