DME Pharmacy

Expanding Your Pharmacy's Reach — and Value

Retail sales can help DME pharmacies broaden the important healthcare role they play in their communities.

As most pharmacies know, they play a key role in their communities that goes far beyond filling prescriptions or offering over-the-counter medications. Pharmacies fill an important healthcare component in their communities.

And, as many pharmacies know, that role could use some reinforcement. Reimbursement for pharmacies is being cut by a variety of entities and programs. Pharmacy benefit managers representing Medicare, private payer insurance, state and other government health programs, and the like are working overtime to drive down price. This has resulted in diminishing profit margins and a feeling as though pharmacy owners and operators — particularly those with strong ties to their communities — aren’t being allowed to carry out the healthcare role that many see as the primary, gratifying pay-off. Simply put, the more compelled you are to focus on cost, the less you feel focused on care.

But there are options that can help you not only continue to provide benefits to your clients, but in fact broaden what you can offer. Better yet, you can do that while increasing your revenues and hopefully your margins. I’m talking about retail sales of home medical equipment items.

There are a variety of existing retail product offerings you can stock that will serve a wide range of your customers’ needs. For instance, on page 10 of this edition of DME Pharmacy, we round up some of the latest bath safety offerings on the market.

Bath safety is a critical concern, given that more than 80 percent of home accidents occur in the bathroom, which is considered to be the most dangerous room in the house according to the National Safety Council.

Moreover, bath safety is a service that spans across multiple, major customers groups, such as seniors, bariatric patients and people with mobility impairments, to name a few. This means that providing bath safety involves addressing a number of very different and distinct patient requirements and considerations.

Bath safety solutions include products such as grab bars, bathing stools and benches, transfer chairs and lifts to help patients get in and out showers and tubs. And, of course, there are general items, such as non-slip material or strips and similar household items.

Any pharmacy that has some free shelf space, decent merchandising chops, and a mind for marketing can offer these items. And if any sales training is needed, most of these products’ makers are more than happy to provide it, and often accompany that training with marketing and merchandising support.

Now is the time to get creative. By adding some applicable extensions to your shelves, you can expand the benefit you offer to your customers, while also expanding your bottom line.

This article originally appeared in the DME Pharmacy December 2016 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher HME Business, DME Pharmacy and Mobility Management magazines. He was Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy from 2008 to 2023. Follow him on LinkedIn at and on Twitter at @postacutenews.