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Best practices

How Diversifying Your Pharmacy’s Services Can Drive Growth

April 25, 2024

It’s often said that in times of economic uncertainty, the best businesses are forged. In a post-COVID-19 world, pharmacies are facing their fair share of uncertainty with DIR fee changes, rising costs, and pseudo-monopolies driven by the major drugstore chains.

The winners in times of uncertainty are those who choose the path less followed and dare to innovate and adapt to changing circumstances. 

Independent pharmacies can overcome today’s mounting challenges by making key expansions to their practice and diversifying what services they offer. Let’s explore some exciting opportunities that exist for you to diversify your pharmacy’s revenue streams to grow your practice.

How Do You Make Money Today?

Chances are, you probably generate most of your revenue through dispensing medications and offering limited medical services such as COVID-19 or influenza vaccinations. While dispensing should ideally make up the bulk of your revenue, it’s important to balance revenue streams so you’re not wholly dependent on dispensing to keep your business running.

Ask yourself: How much do OTC/ retail purchases make my practice? Is there a strong ROI on OTC, CPG, and retail for my patients? Are there popular services I’m not currently offering with good upside potential?

There’s also a chance to seek guidance from your patient base when expanding revenue streams. What services do they want? Are there any retail products they would like to see stocked? Your patients are the lifeblood of your pharmacy — so it’s important to get buy-in from them before making any major decisions.

Ways to Diversify Your Pharmacy’s Revenue Streams

For independent pharmacies looking to expand their operations and diversify the way they generate revenue, there are tons of exciting new (and existing) opportunities to do so. Let’s dive into some of the increasingly popular ways to earn money as a pharmacy. 

Increase Your Non-Prescription Inventory 

Your patients aren’t just patients — they’re consumers. The words ‘one-stop-shop’ are music to the ears of busy patients who need to do more with less time. National drugstore chains have made it table stakes to expect makeup, OTC products, supplements, and more when shopping at a pharmacy.

Your pharmacy doesn’t need to stock thousands of products to take advantage of increased retail revenue. Poll your patient base to see what products are most popular, stock certain products seasonally, and take cues from what’s trending online to ensure the products you invest in will be products that sell.

Partner with Other Businesses to Increase Visit Frequency

You have a chance to get creative when thinking about ways to get patients back to your pharmacy more frequently. Beyond stocking more non-prescription products, brainstorm experiential activations that will get folks returning to your pharmacy.

Package pickup locations, like the ones offered by Amazon, will have existing (or even new patients) stopping by more often. 

You may also consider partnering with local businesses like dieticians, gyms, and trainers to host informational sessions that can get new patients in your door for the first time.

Offer Vaccinations and Testing Services

Your pharmacy likely already offers basic vaccinations — but especially with an elderly patient base there could be huge potential for offering a more expanded range of vaccinations. Older, high-risk, and immunocompromised patients will appreciate having the COVID-19 vaccine, flu vaccine, shingles vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, and vaccinations for Tdap. 

World travelers also need certain vaccinations to be cleared to cross borders, so you might also consider stocking vaccines for hepatitis, measles, cholera, and more.

Rapid testing also goes hand in hand with vaccinations and may be a viable option to expand your patient base and generate more revenue by offering these services. A few popular testing services include COVID-19 tests, flu tests, and strep throat tests. Your patients will appreciate the convenience that these bring — they can possibly be cleared for absences at work and school without the need for a formal doctor’s visit.

With so many new ways to generate revenue for your pharmacy, the sky is the limit in 2024 and beyond! The Nimble team is committed to helping independent pharmacies grow. If you’d like to learn how we do that, set up a time to chat with our team.

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