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Independent pharmacies can survive if they find a niche in their community.
We can all agree that, if implemented, AMP will impact an already-struggling independent pharmacy field. While 1,000 independents closed in 2006, NCPA is predicting another 2,300 will close in early 2008. Makes you wonder how you are going to keep your pharmacy open, doesn't it? First, let's reflect on the underlying effects of AMP and then tackle how your pharmacy can survive.
Find a niche
There is hope. Pharmacy owners in various parts of the country are achieving diverse levels of profitability. The most successful credit niche markets as the key. Like you, these owners were frustrated until they adopted a profitable and less stressful way to run their business. These independents realized compounding, senior care, DME, infusion therapy, HIV therapy, nuclear pharmacy, vet care, and integrative medicine as well as other pharmacy niches are all viable solutions.
You, too, can develop an effective plan that results in a lucrative business in today's healthcare marketplace. I'm not saying to stop filling regular Rxs. Your business could include 50% regular Rxs and 50% specialty. For those who have already found your ideal focus, it's time to expand that aspect of your pharmacy to maximize profitability.
Please note that some niches may be practical for a limited amount of time. Therefore, evaluate your business at least annually to determine the market(s) to adopt and drop the one(s) that have lost their luster.
In the spirit of keeping your pharmacy open, I propose we take the week of Oct. 21 to 27 to celebrate independent pharmacy. I challenge you to take time during this week to reflect on your pharmacy business. What modifications can you make that will yield a profitable outcome?
Promote independent pharmacy
Celebrate the week with your customers. This would be a great time to remind your patients and community that your pharmacy provides a vital service. Be sure to obtain feedback from your patients on what type of specialty market they would support. Educate them on AMP and other challenges you face. Your customers may be willing to write their legislators to help you battle pharmacy issues.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Customer Appreciation Day/Week-ask businesses in your area to participate. They can advertise for free by donating door prizes to hand out during the week.
2. Contact your local media to cover your story.