Pharmacy of tomorrow

August 10, 2009

Tomorrow's pharmacists and pharmacies will need to find ways to increase profit margins by reducing the cost of prescribing, embracing technology, and focusing more on patient counseling, immunizations, education, and other offshoots of their clinical expertise.

Key Points

"The pharmacist is going to be responsible for managing the effective distribution process of medication. Current and future automation will assist with that, because anything that streamlines and automates the dispensing and distribution process will obviously free the pharmacist to fulfill more of a clinical role as well," said James Owen, BS Pharm, PharmD, director of professional practice for the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Simply put, pharmacists and pharmacies of tomorrow must find ways to increase profit margins by reducing the cost of prescribing, embracing technology, and focusing more on patient counseling, immunizations, education, and other natural offshoots of their clinical expertise. Some experts predict that the future of pharmacy will embrace the clinical skills and care pharmacists have always been qualified to deliver.

"The pharmacy landscape has changed, reflecting the 'perfect storm' of market pressures, including flat volumes, deteriorating margins, and increased staff costs," said Nanette Kirsch, senior director for marketing communication for Parata Systems. "To remain profitable and drive future growth, dispensing must become a loss leader of sorts; it draws customers into pharmacies, but it must become less costly, and pharmacists must find new ways to generate revenue."