800-289-7930 info@rx30.com
Independent pharmacies focus on local ties to battle competititors, benefit manager cost cutting

Independent pharmacies focus on local ties to battle competititors, benefit manager cost cutting

Kingwood Pharmacy in East Ridge is always packed during the first weekend in November because that’s when the 69-year-old pharmacy holds its annual Christmas open house. It’s festive — new products, refreshments and discounts abound. “It’s more like a homecoming,” said store manager Joe Harper. “Customers who haven’t been in but once or twice a year come in. Everyone comes back for the open house.” Some customers bring their out-of-town kids, just to say hello and chat with the pharmacy’s 34 staff members. “We tell our customers how much we appreciate them,” Harper said. “Because they do pass several pharmacies coming here.” The fact that loyal customers pour in every year without fail is one reason why Harper and other area independent pharmacists aren’t worried about competition from national chains. Independent pharmacists are confident that chains can’t offer the same personal care and service that an independent can. There’s still a market, they say, for the individual pharmacy store. But in a world increasingly driven by convenience, insurance and low prices, independent pharmacies are facing a tougher market than ever. The number of independent pharmacies in the United States has been halved in the past three decades, and several high profile pharmacies have recently closed or sold in the Chattanooga area, including the 84-year-old Belvoir Pharmacy and 120-year-old Chickamauga Drug Store. “It hurts me,” said Jerry Grimmitt, who’s owned 58-year-old Longley Pharmacy in Rossville since 2001. “I hate when anyone sells out. I’ll compete with Walgreens and CVS all day long. They don’t scare me. I know that once someone comes in here once or twice, they’re going to...
New Markets: A prescription for independent pharmacies

New Markets: A prescription for independent pharmacies

With an uncertain regulatory landscape and declining reimbursement rates, most pharmacists would agree that it is tougher to be an independent pharmacist today than it was in years past. Asked to describe their challenges and concerns, pharmacists mentioned declining reimbursement rates for prescription drugs, mail-order use forced on patients, and the uncertainty surrounding healthcare regulation, among other issues. What to do? So how does an independent survive and thrive in these uncertain times? Some pharmacists say that it’s going to be much tougher for independents to survive as typical retail pharmacies in which filling patient prescriptions is the only service offered. On the other hand, “If you’re willing to work hard and have an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Andrew Keenan, PharmD, of Valley Prescription and Compounding Pharmacy in Merced, Calif. (www.valleyrxandcompounding.com), “then it can be a great time to be an independent pharmacist owner.” His advice to independent pharmacists: “Look into other areas where you can use your education as a drug expert.” You gotta have smarts The common thread running through the success stories is that independent pharmacists need to think creatively in order to capitalize on new business opportunities. According to Jeffrey Hill, PharmD, co-owner at Valley Rx, he and his partner are looking into opportunities to offer services in the areas of hormone replacement therapy and long-term care. In addition, they’re already providing compounding services accredited by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB). When asked why a compounding pharmacy should obtain PCAB accreditation, Hill said that it was a good way for a compounding pharmacy to show that it adheres to rigorous standards that increase patient safety....