Expanding Your Pharmacy's Reach — and Value
Retail sales can help DME pharmacies broaden the important healthcare role they play in their communities.
- By David Kopf
- Dec 01, 2016
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.
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 linkedin.com/in/dkopf/ and on Twitter at @postacutenews.