If you’ve ever stepped foot into a car dealership, you’ve probably been whisked away by a salesman and taken to a showroom in two minutes, tops.
Here, the newest models of the newest cars are lined up, squeaky-clean and sparkling. They’re complete with all of the bells and whistles: from heated seats to back-up cameras to a touch-screen display so high-tech you’d need weeks to figure it out. You find yourself mesmerized.
The salesman senses your excitement and asks, “Want to take one of these out for a spin?” And maybe you do. Maybe you strap yourself in, hit the gas, and take a lap around the block — a smooth, steady drive that you could never get in your family sedan.
At the end of your joyride, though, you hand the keys back, albeit begrudgingly, and ask, “Now where can I find something that’s not going to cost an arm and a leg?”
That’s because even in the midst of all your excitement, you know that price matters. The bells and whistles are a bonus, but you decide to prioritize affordability. Decisions like this happen every day: at car dealerships, at shopping malls, and at independent pharmacies.
At the end of the day, price comes first.
Drug Pricing: It’s a Make-or-Break Issue
It’s true that patients look to independents to get convenient, quality care that they can’t find at chain pharmacies.
It’s also true, though, that they expect to pay comparable prices. And, in many cases, if they can’t get a lower rate on their prescription drugs, they’re willing to take their business to the next brick and mortar down the road. As a pharmacist, you know this; and, consequently, you have to do your due diligence and make sure your price is right.
When you price drugs, you probably take a few things into consideration: acquisition costs, reimbursements, potential profits — and, of course, competition. It’s simple economics: if you want to stay competitive, you have to offer better value (and often, better prices) than those around you.
In hustle and bustle of managing your own business, though, how are you supposed to keep up with everyone else’s? There’s always the option of sending out scouts or getting word through the grapevine.
For a more effective, more efficient option, though, turn to technology.
How to Edge Out the Competition
If you’re looking for a simple, streamlined way to do prescription drug pricing, look to your pharmacy software system. Among all of its other capabilities, your software system has the tools you need to track, monitor, and price prescriptions at other pharmacies so that you can adjust your own prices and keep yourself competitive.
Not all software systems are created equal, though. Most systems have basic financial reporting to help you get by, but the best systems offer features designed for competitive pricing.
With these systems, you can get access to cash and third-party pricing at pharmacies in your city, your state, or even across the country. You can analyze the price of one prescription or bundle multiple prescriptions in order to tally up a total cost.
With this information, you can get an accurate, up-to-date price for any prescription (name-brand or generic) at any pharmacy of your choosing.
After evaluating these numbers, you can assess the price of your own prescription drugs and come up with a plan to edge out the competition. If you find that you’re charging too much for a particular drug, you can lower prices and increase accessibility. If you find that you aren’t charging enough, you can bump up your prices and see a higher profit margin.
To create a strategic pricing plan, though, you need a technology partner to pull data and put it at your fingertips in a matter of seconds. That’s where an innovative pharmacy software system comes in.
Some vendors offer competitive pricing features via add-ons or integrations, but the best ones offer it to you in a base model system, free of charge. In order to find out which options your vendor offers, schedule a demo and ask how they can keep your pricing competitive and your profits rolling in.
Don’t have a software system, or looking to switch to a new one? Compare all of your available options and find the right fit for your pharmacy.
In a world of cookie-cutter chain pharmacies, independents bring a change of pace: the same care, with the same convenience, and — thanks to competitive pricing — at a fraction of the cost. If you’re looking to bolster your business strategy and keep your prices competitive, look at what others are doing; then adjust accordingly.
With the right tools on your side, you can make a plan, prepare a counterpunch, and keep your pharmacy profitable for years to come.