Would it be crazy to detail other area pharmacies?

January 18, 2017By Behind the Shelf Blog, Industry Intuition

by Dave Wendland

As an independent pharmacy owner, can you imagine yourself walking into the big chain in your area or the specialty pharmacy around the corner to create a business relationship? You must think I’ve lost my mind.

Before you question my crazy idea, let me describe some hypothetical outcomes.

Picture an independent pharmacy in a highly-populated area that has carved out an impressively deep niche in the durable medical and home medical categories — so much so that discharge nurses, orthopedists, and other healthcare professionals are referring patients to this pharmacy from miles around. Like most other cities in America, there are three large chain drugstores, two grocery stores with pharmacies, and one small independent in this community. But, what do none of the others have? DME! So by introducing herself to the competitors, inviting them into her store, and offering a quick checklist of unique services offered, this home healthcare-specialized setting has put together a referral network second to none.

What if your independent pharmacy was the only pharmacy in the area that offered a comprehensive compounding center? Consider the dozens (hundreds) of patients that may have their traditional prescriptions serviced by one of the area chains but need an occasional compounded alternative. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to create a relationship with this competitor who could not only provide better service for their patient, but also introduce the patient to the other advantages of your store? (I have a feeling that your gift section a comprehensive compounding centercould run circles around the chain’s run-of-the-mill assortment.) And if you fulfilled the compound prescription needs of the patient and they also purchased occasional gifts and specialty items, wouldn’t that be a good thing?

For the final scenario, there’s an independent pharmacy that focuses exclusively on the issues of diabetes management. They have a family educational center with courses to help patients and loved ones manage, maintain, and live comfortably with the disease. No other pharmacy in the area is 100% dedicated to this chronic condition although all serve patients inflicted with diabetes. So, what if the pharmacy decided to open up their educational center (for a fee) to all patients in the community? My guess is that many will see the value of these focused efforts and begin to favor the independent pharmacy with an increasing amount of business.

The bottom line is that by understanding strengths, weaknesses, and niche services offered by other pharmacies in your community and making them aware of your key competencies, you may actually develop an ecosystem that will ultimately deliver more benefits to patients and new revenue sources for your operation.

So, what are you waiting for? Hit the streets, introduce yourself, and try something crazy today.