Growing Your Independent Pharmacy Business
Here are helpful tips and innovative ideas from AAP to help you grow your independent pharmacy business.
Here are helpful tips and innovative ideas from AAP to help you grow your independent pharmacy business.
Still deciding whether to attend the AAP Annual Conference in April? In-person events offer several valuable advantages that contribute to a unique and enriching experience for AAP Members. Here are the top 7 reasons to attend in-person professional events:
1. Networking Opportunities:
– Face-to-face interactions provide valuable networking opportunities. You can meet and connect with other independent pharmacists, potential business partners and industry experts.
2. Engagement and Interaction:
– In-person events foster a high level of engagement. You can actively participate in discussions, Q&A sessions and hands-on activities.
– Your ability to ask questions directly and receive immediate responses enhances the learning experience.
3. Immersion and Experience:
– Physical events often create a more immersive and memorable experience. Live demonstrations, product showcases and interactive exhibits provide a hands-on experience.
4. Building Trust and Relationships:
– Meeting people in person helps build trust and strengthens relationships. Face-to-face interactions allow for better communication and understanding.
– Personal connections formed at in-person events often translate into long-lasting professional relationships.
5. Serendipitous Opportunities:
– In-person events provide opportunities for serendipitous encounters and discoveries that may not occur in a virtual setting. Chance meetings and impromptu conversations can lead to new ideas and collaborations.
6. Professional Development:
– You can gain insight from keynote speakers, panel discussions and workshops in a more immersive manner. Direct interaction with experts enhances the learning experience.
7. Motivation and Inspiration:
– Being part of a live audience can be motivating and inspiring. The energy and enthusiasm generated at in-person events can have a positive impact on you.
The unique value offered by in-person events like the AAP Annual Conference, particularly in terms of human connection and experiential learning, continues to make them a valuable and preferred option for many independent pharmacists. Join us in San Diego, April 4-6!
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5378, Lower Costs, More Transparency Act. According to NCPA, this legislation shines a light on PBM operations and tactics and encourages reform. It would help provide desperately needed relief while also saving taxpayer resources, prohibiting spread pricing and seeing that pharmacies are paid in a way that would cover their dispensing costs.
This bill also includes the Drug Price Transparency Act which would save taxpayers more than $1 billion over the next 10 years and prohibit spread pricing.
The bill now moves on to the U.S. Senate for passage. We will keep you informed when the vote is scheduled.
The second PBM reform news story is the warning issued by CMS to PBM insurers, calling on them to make sure independent pharmacies are adequately reimbursed.
The letter goes on to state, “In addition, we know that the increasing level of vertical integration that is occurring among plans, PBMs, and their own pharmacies has the potential to result in anticompetitive behavior and place independent pharmacies at a disadvantage. We urge plans and PBMs to engage in sustainable and fair practices with all pharmacies – not just pharmacies owned by PBMs – and we are closely monitoring plan compliance with CMS network adequacy standards and other requirements.” Read the full letter here.
According to Reuters, U.S. health insurer Cigna has called off its attempt to negotiate an acquisition of Humana after the pair failed to agree on price. Cigna has announced plans to buy back $10 billion worth of shares.
A Cigna-Humana combination would have created a company with a value exceeding $140 billion, based on their market values, but was certain to attract fierce antitrust scrutiny. The discussions came six years after regulators blocked other deals between Humana-Aetna and Cigna-Anthem.
Cigna is still exploring the sale of its Medicare Advantage business, which manages government health insurance for people aged 65 and older, and its performance has been disappointing to investors.
AAP Retail Plan-O-Grams was developed through a unique approach to creating OTC plan-o-gram sets that draws from sources of retail data.
AAP’s Retail Plan-O-Grams is a visual merchandising tool that shows the placement of products on shelves in a store. Retail Plan-O-Grams can also show the layout of an entire store.
AAP Retail Plan-O-Grams helps you take advantage of:
And best of all, there is no cost to participate! Increase your store’s sales and profits with AAP Retail Plan-O-Grams. Contact your Territory Manager to learn more about this program.
AAP is a completely Member-owned independent pharmacy cooperative, where our Members are the stakeholders guiding how the business is operated. Additionally, millions in board-declared Annual Patronage Dividends are returned to Members each year.
Our large co-op is comprised of more than 2,000 independent pharmacies and has the high-volume buying power to aggressively compete like the chains, while Members sign no long-term vendor contracts.
With AAP, you can quickly adapt to changing market forces with our flexible purchasing options. You can enjoy agility within your PVA as you buy from either API Warehouse and/or our primary national wholesaler, to easily adhere to compliance requirements.
Our independent pharmacy cooperative Members also have access to proprietary business tools, like ProfitAmp business intelligence, SmartSync bulk ordering program, Scan & Toss ordering solution, free OTC Retail Plan-O-Grams and more! These tools help you optimize your buying strategy and profit margin.
Contact us to receive your store-specific, custom purchasing analysis.
Expiring inventory is a fact of life in any pharmacy, but you may be leaving money on the shelf if you aren’t taking certain steps to effectively manage your inventory. These 10 tips will help you minimize the number of products that go out of date and ensure you can get the most credit possible from the products that do expire on your shelves.
Registration is now open for the 2024 AAP Annual Conference. All independent and community pharmacies are invited.
Join us in “America’s Finest City”- San Diego, April 4-6.
Springboarding off last year’s hugely successful event, the 2024 AAP Annual Conference is built around YOU! Our goal is to make sure you increase your knowledge, develop new strategies and learn useful tips you can use when you get back to your store. Our program features an informative lineup of speakers from across the country, educational CE sessions and a diverse collection of exhibitors.
And new this year, you have a chance to win $10k, $15k or $25k in API Warehouse credit! Details can be found here.
The 2024 AAP Annual Conference will be hosted at the Town & Country Resort. This stylish mid-century themed hotel is centrally located to all that San Diego has to offer.
The property is adjacent to luxury shopping and golf, and within minutes of the airport, beautiful beaches, hiking, biking and world-class attractions.
With five lively restaurants and a lounge, three pools, Twister the 4-story waterslide, sand volleyball court, and fire pits, you will have plenty to do during your downtime.
Register now for the 2024 AAP Annual Conference.
The Medicare Open Enrollment period is a critical time for patients and pharmacists alike. As more Baby Boomers become eligible for Medicare, the beneficiary population is expected to increase from over 65 million beneficiaries today (as of March 2023) to over 80 million beneficiaries by 2030. Now more than ever, pharmacists must take an active role during Open Enrollment by offering services that help patients understand their plan options. Equipping yourself with the right knowledge could mean a tremendous amount of money saved for both your pharmacy and patients. As you plan to help your patients with navigating their options for the coming year, here are a few things to know:
The August legislative recess is here. This is the perfect time to invite your local state and federal policymakers to your store and explain how they can help your business.
With the flurry of activity this year on Capitol Hill lawmakers looking to hold PBMs’ feet to the fire, AAP and NCPA members have testified before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee and the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, as well as the Senate Commerce Committee.
Additionally, the Drug Price Transparency in Medicaid Act, was unanimously advanced out of the Energy and Commerce Committee to the House floor as part of the PATIENT Act. These are all encouraging developments, but we need to keep the pressure on policymakers to finish the job and send a comprehensive PBM reform bill to the president’s desk.
This can best be accomplished by hosting members of Congress and candidates in your pharmacy for one-on-one meetings, giving them a firsthand look at the important role you play in your community and in helping your patients, and highlighting the harm abusive PBM practices have on both your pharmacy and your patients. If you aren’t sure how to contact them, you can look up their information here.
During the August legislative recess, members of Congress are usually home meeting with constituents. This is a very opportune time to host your legislators in your pharmacy.
We need all community and LTC pharmacists to participate in this important month of action and keep the pressure on our elected officials to take strong legislative action.
When you do host your local lawmaker, let AAP know. Send us an email and pictures so we can share with our other Members on social media and in our weekly newsletter.
Take advantage of this great opportunity to promote yours and every independent and community pharmacy.
As you know, there has much information and talk about LTC Pharmacy at Home. The need for better pharmacy care for people who are homebound or need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) is a reality with the increasing elderly population. According to projections in a new report from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), the aging of the baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) could fuel a 75 percent increase in the number of Americans ages 65 and older requiring nursing home care, to about 2.3 million in 2030 from 1.3 million in 2010. New facilities are not being built today to accommodate people with institutional needs.
Those numbers stress the need to find new ways to administer care and pharmacy services to aging adults with medical conditions and impairments limiting their ability to care for themselves. Long term care (LTC) pharmacy at home is a new way for LTC pharmacies to care for people needing institutional care but who desire to stay in their home or are financially unable to be admitted into a facility.
Many of these people are participating in a home and community-based waiver (HCBS) program from their state where Medicaid pays for institutional care in their home, or they are homebound and need assistance with two or more ADLs (activities of daily living) or IADLs (instrumental activities of daily living).
While the definition of pharmacy services required to be provided to people qualifying for LTC pharmacy services, a new coalition and others in the industry are providing clarity on these needed services. The independent community LTC Pharmacy, whether in closed door pharmacy or in a combination pharmacy (retail and LTC), is the best solution in providing pharmacy care to these patients and to assist in decreasing hospitalizations and emergency department visits. We know that people who do not take their medications correctly – too much, too little, wrong time, wrong dose – frequently have complications that result in ER visits and hospitalizations. A new coalition, the Alliance for LTC Pharmacy at Home is developing strategies to define, promote and get these services paid by insurers (https://www.pharmacyathome.org/).
The NCPA Annual Convention will be held October 14-17 in Orlando. Make plans now to join. And AAP members will receive $100 off your registration when using the promo code “Buy100.”
Your patients rely on you to dispense the right medication for their unique needs. The same level of care should be taken when it comes to your pharmacy’s financial health. We’ll explore strategic and effective ways to diversify your pharmacy’s revenue and ensure long-term success. So, grab your pad and pen, and get ready to lay a foundation for financial well-being for your pharmacy.
Diversification is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps protect your pharmacy against economic downturns and changes in the industry. By diversifying your revenue streams, you’ll be less reliant on any one source of income, which can help you weather any storms that come your way. Additionally, diversification can help you attract new customers and build loyalty with existing ones. By offering a wider range of products and services, you’ll be better able to meet the needs of your customers and keep them coming back to your pharmacy. Read More >>
While many Americans may not initially notice the sunsetting of the declaration, they are likely to feel it if they come down with COVID-19 or suspect they might have it. They could have to start paying for testing and treatment that they’ve grown used to being free during the pandemic. Just how much depends on the type of health coverage they have. Get the testing and vaccine details here.
Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday voted unanimously to recommend making a birth control pill available without a prescription.
The 17-0 vote by two advisory panels came despite concerns from agency officials about the quality of the data used to support switching Opill from prescription to over the counter. The agency did not have concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the drug.
The FDA is not required to follow the recommendation but the panel’s opinion will weigh heavily on the FDA’s final decision, which is expected later this summer. Read more here.
It is now the first FDA-approved treatment indicated for AAD in the U.S. According to John J. Miller, MD, Editor in Chief of Psychiatric Times. “Baby boomers are retiring and Alzheimer disease is on the rise, and AAD in one of the most difficult complications of dementia. Meanwhile, the need for treatments of Alzheimer disease and dementia remains huge and largely unaddressed. This approval parallels nicely with recent drug development and research working on decreasing disease progression by removing amyloid plaque with monoclonal antibodies and improving cognitive function.” Read more.
A late-2021 analysis by Deloitte about “the future of the pharmacy” includes what may seem to be an obvious observation, but one that still warrants repeating: “Most people don’t realize that pharmacists can perform a range of complex clinical functions around therapy optimization, not just dispense pills.”
The analysis reaches the conclusion that, while the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for pharmacists to increase their role in providing hands-on patient care, there was no proportionate reduction in the time required to dispense medications. In fact, the article notes, dispensing demands have only increased, as reduced reimbursement and dispensing fees, along with increased direct and indirect renumeration (DIR) fees have caused many pharmacies to actively look to increase prescription volume.
What do you need to consider when buying an independent pharmacy?
Whether buying your first business or tenth, acquiring an independent pharmacy presents unique challenges. Similar to any retail business, you’ll be performing your due diligence evaluating:
But when you buy an independent pharmacy, there are more dimensions to understand about each of these elements. They involve additional evaluation, regulation, legal, and financial guidance to determine what may or may not be a good buy for you. Below is a guide to some things to consider as you make your plans. Read More >>
Ordering your most popular items can be done simply with SmartSync, AAP’s customized intelligence-based bulk ordering program. It is available to AAP Members who are opted into ProfitAmp Full Access or ProfitAmp Monthly Assessment, and it is designed to help you save even more on your pharmacy’s most common inventory.
Watch the video to see how it works.
First, AAP analyzes your dispensing data each month to suggest a thirty-day supply bulk order, customized to your store’s needs.
Then, we notify you that your suggested SmartSync order is ready to view on APIRx.com. Your prime vendor GCR and rebate structure are taken into account and API NDCs with the highest-dollar savings are selected.
Next, within three days, you can approve the order as-is or adjust the order based on your current inventory.
And finally, you will receive an extra five percent off the invoice price (minus controlled substances) for receiving your order by ground shipping.
That’s it. Fast and Easy. SmartSync saves you time and money. *
To find out how SmartSync can help you, contact your AAP territory manager today.
*$49 monthly program fee is waived when an order is placed.
Make restocking your shelves fast and easy with Scan & Toss. Available on both Android and Apple devices, shopping from API Warehouse is more convenient than ever.
You now have the freedom to quickly purchase from API Warehouse and AAP’s primary contracted wholesaler, anywhere you go, straight from your mobile device.
Watch the video to see how it works.
You can place your order with just a few taps. You simply scan a product’s barcode to get started, or manually enter an item’s UPC, NDC, API or Cardinal item number, or search by item description.
The app works with Brand Rx, Generic Rx, and even OTC products. It goes wherever you go, allowing you to place and view orders quickly and efficiently, no matter where you are!
Scan & Toss syncs all your data across multiple devices! Plus, you can review past orders right on your phone. And the app’s Message Center delivers your rebate information as soon as your API order is placed.
To get the Scan & Toss Mobile app, you can download it from the Google Play Store on your Android device or the App Store on your Apple device.
Contact your A-A-P territory manager to get started today.
In this pre-recorded webinar, please join Jessica Swicegood and Cole Page from GeriMed to learn more about their program ComboMed™.
ComboMed™ has garnered prominence from independents nationwide for the enhanced revenue ($3-$4 more per script, zero DIR fees) it brings to retail independents servicing LTC. From the traditional SNF setting, to ALF, Group Home, Psychiatric, Correctional, ICF-IDD, Hospice, and the fastest-growing segment in LTC—Medical at Home, odds are you’re likely servicing LTC already and don’t know it. Or if you do know it, you’re not receiving the benefits of this program on your Med D LTC claims.
Click here to watch.
CMS has issued the final physician fee schedule for CY 2023, which updates vaccine payment information. The CY 2023 payment amount for influenza, pneumococcal, and HBV vaccine administration is $31.14. This amount will be geographically adjusted based upon the fee schedule area where the preventive vaccine is administered. With regard to COVID-19 vaccine administration, for CY 2023 the payment amount is $41.52. This differential will remain in place until the end of the calendar year in which the current Emergency Use Authorization declaration for drugs and biologicals with respect to COVID-19 ends. Thereafter, the payment amount for COVID-19 vaccine administration will be adjusted to align with the payment rate for the other Medicare Part B preventive vaccines. Learn more.
Your patients are the lifeblood of your business. With an increased number of pharmacy alternatives popping up these days — including mail order pharmacies and online pharmacies — how can you ensure your patients stay your patients?
Did you know you can create a customer retention strategy through Medicare plan consultations that keeps your current customers engaged and happy? You can, and we’ll get to that shortly.
Before we understand how you can improve patient retention, however, let’s first look at what patient retention is and how you calculate your patient retention rate. Read More.
Starting a new pharmacy can seem like a daunting task, and it certainly is one. However, the road to opening a pharmacy that runs successfully from day one means making the right decisions long before the doors are opened. This article is meant to help independent pharmacists navigate the process of establishing a new pharmacy more easily and successfully.
There’s a well-known adage (often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, though there seems to be no evidence that he ever actually said it) that goes, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” When starting a new pharmacy, this is especially true. Therefore, the first thing to do is write out a business plan that includes the following items:
It’s back. Americans who thought they had successfully put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror are slowly coming to realize that the virus is not quite done with them. As of mid-July the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 7-day moving average of 124,000 daily new cases – a 15.7 percent increase over the prior week.
The surge in new cases, driven primarily by the Omicron BA.5 variant, has fueled discussion about reimposing mask mandates, and the possibility of additional booster shots. This, despite evidence the latest variant is more resistant to existing vaccines than previous strains. Read More.
Did you know that more than one-third of health care organizations in the United States were hit by ransomware attacks in 2020? Approximately 65% of these attacks were successful, and approximately one-third of the organizations that had data stolen paid up. However, only 69% of organizations that paid ransom actually got their data back. Here are some tips to help you protect your patients’ information. Read more.
Thirty years ago, pharmacies were just realizing the opportunities available to them in the long-term care space. At that time, long-term care pharmacy and pharmacists were servicing residents living in nursing homes (SNF) and that was the end of the story. In 2022, the healthcare spectrum has changed. Everyone is looking for a way to decrease healthcare costs and provide better care. Adverse drug reactions account for many hospital admissions – according to a recent meta-analysis, one in ten hospital admissions are for elderly patients.1 This makes pharmacists—more specifically, long-term care pharmacists— part of the solution for both costs and care; especially as the definition of appropriate long-term patients and services continue to be defined. Long-term care pharmacies can be a closed-door pharmacy servicing only long-term care residents or a long-term care pharmacy can be in a “combo” pharmacy where both retail and long-term care pharmacy are being offered under a retail license.
As you know, long-term care pharmacies provide services above and beyond what is delivered at the counter of a typical retail pharmacy for a walk-in patient. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has specific requirements for pharmacies servicing Medicare Part D beneficiaries in long term care facilities2. LTC pharmacies must have the capacity to provide specific drugs in units of use packaging, bingo cards, cassettes, unit dose or other special packaging commonly required by LTC facilities. They must also have services available twenty-four hours, seven days a week for emergency calls. These are but a couple of the services needed to take care of patients in a long-term care setting. Many pharmacies have added other services such as medication reconciliation, medication management, medication regimen reviews (MRRs), etc., in addition to the ones specified by CMS. Read More.
Businesses owners, including those who work within the pharmacy industry, often face situations in which legal advice becomes useful. Getting the right legal advice can be pricey, but it can save a lot of time, money and hassle in the long term. Here are some situations where getting good advice is crucial.
Walmart recently announced its plan to raise wages for its more than 36,000 pharmacy technicians working in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. Additionally, the retail giant plans to hire an additional 5,000 workers in these positions this year. Are you ready to compete for staffing with Walmart? Read the full article from Drug Topics here.
Cardinal Health issued a new alert regarding recently reported fraudulent activity. There are reports of individuals falsely claiming to be representatives from pharmaceutical wholesalers and courier service employees. This is an industry-wide issue, as criminals attempt to place orders and intercept delivery of the product. Be on the lookout, and read the full alert here.
More than 90 percent of people in the United States live within five miles of a community pharmacy. Additionally, patients visit the pharmacy twice as often as they visit their primary healthcare provider. So, your pharmacy can make a significant impact on the lives of your community members, but you must get them through the door first.
One way is standing out from your competition by personalizing your services. From simple handwritten, thank you notes for a new patient to loyalty programs or just recognizing a birthday, the possible ways to connect with patients are endless. To learn more ideas about how to increase your pharmacy customer base, watch the AAP Preferred Partner webinar from TDS here.
Have you ever thought about what it would take for your pharmacy to go green? If you could give your patients their medication information digitally, it would save you thousands of dollars every year in paper and toner costs. Our Preferred Partner, Vuca Health, has an innovative solution called MedsOnCue. Their platform has a library of informational videos about hundreds of medications, in both English and Spanish.
The system can integrate into your pharmacy’s system and deliver the medication information video straight to your patient’s computer, smartphone or tablet. To learn more about MedsOnCue, watch our AAP Preferred Partner webinar from Vuca Health here.
We know that every pharmacy faces different challenges. That is why we partner with a variety of vendors to give you choices that address YOUR business needs. Our Preferred Partner, Rx30, can make your pharmacy faster and more efficient by optimizing your workflow and customizing it around you.
Check out the AAP Preferred Partner webinar about the types of tools they can provide your business. From integrated pharmacy point-of-sale to insurance claim reconciliation or pharmacy inventory management, Rx30 has a solution for you.
Independent pharmacies are the cornerstone of every community. And the role your pharmacy plays in your community is constantly evolving. You are not just filling scripts. You are doing healthcare counseling and testing. In many underserved areas, you are becoming the primary care provider for many patients.
But the question is – how do you bill for all of these services you are offering? In this Preferred Partner webinar, EnLivenHealth explains some of the programs they offer to help you navigate the medical billing system. Watch the webinar here.
Expiring drug products are a problem in every pharmacy. But out-of-date pharmaceuticals don’t have to be an unmanageable business expense. The right business partner can turn expired medications into cash.
Medication returns vendors, more formally known as reverse distribution or reverse logistics providers, manage between 3.5% and 4% of all pharmaceutical sales, according to a 2018 estimate from the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) Research Foundation. That’s more than 120 million units annually, worth more than $13 billion, based on 2016 pharmaceutical product sales of $450 billion.
“Return Solutions comes to the pharmacy quarterly and goes through our entire stock to pull everything that is expired or set to expire in the next few months,” said Lisa Stahlman, RPh, pharmacy manager at the WellSpan Pharmacy in Dallastown, Pennsylvania. “A few weeks later, we get a check. I’m sure there are plenty of pharmacies that don’t use a returns company, but it’s so much more time-efficient and cost-efficient than trying to keep up with return policies and requirements for every manufacturer on your own.” Read More.