With changes occurring at a pace faster than innovations making their ways; adapting to changing circumstances is particularly essential to independent pharmacy owners, as pharmacy is sector in major transition. Knowing and acting on the following trends will help your business survives in this turbulent phases.
Medicare growth: As US population ages, serving Medicare beneficiaries becomes increasingly essential. In 2015, 42 million people were expected to be enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan. Seniors fill an average of 27.9 prescriptions annually at retail pharmacies; more than double the number of prescriptions for adults ages 19–64. More than a quarter of all prescriptions of the year 2014 were purchased through Medicare, and Medicare or Medicaid includes more than half of the prescriptions that an average independent pharmacy dispenses. Medicare will cover another 19.1 million people within 11 years. The serving seniors is increaClinical Researchsingly important, make the most of Open Enrolment season by marketing your pharmacy and helping seniors review their plan choices to make better decisions. And do not forget that new sets of seniors are entering the system throughout the year. Reach out to seniors in your community with events at senior centres and by building relationships with prescribers who may refer seniors to your pharmacy.
Explosion of preferred networks: In 2015, 87% of Medicare plans of Part D had preferred pharma networks, up from just 8% four years earlier. And, the criteria to participate in preferred pharmacy networks have changed; they now include performance on key quality measures. Participating in preferred networks is important in order to have access to Medicare patients. Failure to participate in preferred networks will limit a pharmacy’s access to Medicare beneficiaries in those plans. Though coClinical Researchnsumers have high satisfaction with their current pharmacy and pharmacies believe their customers are loyal, most Part D participants are likely to switch to in-network pharmacies. In fact, 85% of senior consumers say they would change pharmacies to save even $10 or less on a co-pay.5Maintaining participation in preferred networks requires constant vigilance of strong performance (in the top 20%) on key Star Ratings measures.
Prescriptions are negligible. For big pharma chains such as CVS and Rite Aid, prescription sales accounted for about 65–70% of revenue in 2014. BUt, in an average independent pharmacy, more than 90% of the revenue came from prescriptions, according to the 2014 NCPA Digest. Find other ways to serve your customers and generate revenues and profits, such as clinical services, front-end sales, new product lines and more. Independents are diversifying revenue streams, with 62% now offering immunizations, for example.8
Specialty medications will dominate drug spending. While fewer than 5% of people use specialty drugs, those medications comprise nearly a third of drug spending, and that is expected to rise to at least 50% by 2020. Although the bar for entering the specialty market can be high, partnerships offer a way for independents to use their unusual capabilities of high-touch care and bring into a significant revenue stream.
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