Specialty drugs open up the floodgates to a range of unique opportunities for independent pharmacies, particularly as net reimbursements for the long tail of drugs continue to shrink.
With the right processes and particular automation in place, specialty drugs become a quick revenue booster and, more importantly, deliver meaningful profitability long term. Utilizing a pharmacy’s existing capacity, the ability to fill high-value prescriptions presents a valuable opportunity—without significant upfront investments that typically arise.
Pharmacies also get access to a larger network of patients in need of specialty drugs, who will ultimately be more inclined to turn to your business to also fill their additional routine prescriptions.
While jumping on the specialty drug bandwagon isn’t always easy, these four tips will help pharmacists succeed when it comes to boosting profitability and expanding both your local and national patient network.
1. Get in With the Locals
The local prescribers who write specialty prescriptions are a major key to breaking into this channel. Focus on building relationships with them to give your network an automatic boost.
These prescribers are often going through the trials and tribulations of dealing with out-of-state specialty pharmacies, which immediately gives you the upper hand once you begin connecting with those in your own backyard. They will feel reassured and more comfortable knowing their patients are being served by a local pharmacy that’s rooted in the same community, rather than those whom they have never met nor spoken with much before.
The first step in building these relationships is to ensure local prescribers are aware that you are capable of dispensing specialty drugs. Then, both parties will be able to reap the benefits of your newly formed partnership.
2. Invest in Communication
Specialty drugs require extra coordination between the patient, provider, and payer, which opens up the door for more mishaps along the way. Many of the shortcomings that arise in the process of prescribing or filling a specialty prescription stem from poor communication—not a lack of effort on the pharmacy side, as some may believe. Prescribers must be informed about any steps they may need to take, such as a substitution for a cheaper alternative or any additional insurance processing, in a timely manner.
Similarly, patients need to be clearly informed on the top three questions regarding their medications: