There is a certain appeal in owning an independent pharmacy or patronizing one for your prescription needs. In many cases, there is an increase in service quality and the relationship between pharmacist and consumer is more genuine and helpful. For example, the pharmacist may be able to offer additional tips for non-prescription products based on their established knowledge of the customer.
However, there are also some issues and challenges related to owning an independent pharmacy.
Network access fees, administrative fees, service fees, and other such outlays all fall into the category of direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees related to each drug dispensed to patients. All of these related fees make it difficult for independent pharmacy owners to determine exactly how much money they are making or losing on each drug.
In addition, smaller independent pharmacies may have difficulties in managing the fees for some drugs, depending on how high they happen to be. The good news here is that there has been some advancement in being able to estimate certain fees on the Prescription Drug Event forms. This will not stop the DIR fees, of course, but it makes budgeting easier.
Dependence on Current Patients
While having a loyal consumer base is an advantage, particularly for independent pharmacies, becoming complacent and dependent on the current patients can pose a significant issue for independent pharmacy owners. You must still work to attract new patients to your pharmacy in order to maintain or even grow the business. What happens if your loyal patients lose their insurance coverage or move away from town? The pharmacy can suffer if you do not make moves to account for this, such as getting patient referrals.
Capability of Technology
As technology advances, so too must the businesses who use that technology. Staying up to date with technological processes is essential for all businesses, including independent pharmacies. However, this can pose a significant challenge for some autonomous operators. They typically work with a smaller budget than chain pharmacies, so it will likely take longer to accumulate the necessary funds to purchase new technology and train staff to use it correctly. This adds strain on independent pharmacies and their ability to keep up with national chains, which can make the jump to new processes faster.
The ability for independent pharmacy owners to grow their business is also a top challenge. Many face stagnation in their sales cycles and patient base; others suffer from inefficient money management practices. Some of this may stem from limited service offerings.
Consider top trends in the pharmaceutical industry and shifts in service offerings. It is also important to maintain a budget in order to increase revenue and grow the business.
Independent pharmacy owners also have the option of selling to Colony RX. This shift in ownership allows them to maintain an old-fashioned feel for their business while also maximizing its operations ability. If you feel it is time to retire or simply no longer wish to run your pharmacy, there are easy pharmacy acquisition companies like Colony RX that promises to maintain everything you have worked to achieve, while also keeping your staff roster intact.