How to Combat Six Top Issues Facing Community Pharmacy in 2018

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How to Combat Six Top Issues Facing Community Pharmacy in 2018

As a community pharmacy owner, optimism is in your blood. You are tried and true. But, as with any small business, issues are sure to arise.

On top of your commitment to patients, you own a business, employ others and are responsible for everything that happens in your pharmacy (along with a lot of behind the scenes activities). Add in something small like DIR fees and you’ve got enough to dwell on all year long.

We want to help you worry less and deal more. Here are six top issues facing community pharmacy in 2018, and what you can do to combat them.

1. DIR fees

What you can do about it:

What can an independent community pharmacy do about DIR fees? That, as they say, is the million-dollar question. While there’s no be-all and end-all answer, the telepharmacy model, or collaborative pharmacy approach, can help lower the cost to dispense medication by sharing and maximizing resources. This, in turn, can help ease the burden of retroactive DIR fees. And according to new bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate, retroactive DIR fees may soon be a thing of the past.

Telepharmacy empowers community pharmacy owners to serve more patients and capture more prescriptions in new geographic areas. 

2. Finding talented technicians

What you can do about it:

As any pharmacist knows, finding a good pharmacy technician (or two) can help make your pharmacy a star. You can join the PTCB employer program which can help reduce pharmacist turnover and technician turnover, help improve employee performance and more. A simple online search will return a slew of online and in-person pharmacy technician schools that provide prospective employees with above-average training and skillsets. You can also get creative in your hunt for good technicians and seek out organizations like Good Shepherd Health, a Memphis-based non-profit pharmacy that opened up a free Pharmacy Technician school this past January.

Finding and retaining talent is among the biggest challenges facing community pharmacies. Don’t be afraid to give your great technicians a promotion and give technicians you want to hire higher than expected pay. The return on investment (ROI) of a great pharmacy technician is well worth an increase in yearly salary. 

3. New government regulations

What you can do about it:

Wholesalers and vendors are constantly looking for ways to make pharmacies perform better. Reach out to your connections and relay your problems as they may have new solutions, ideas or technology that can help you maximize your pharmacy’s potential. Your wholesaler and vendors should be a trusted resource in helping you find ways to combat issues facing your community pharmacy.

4. Medication dispensing errors

What you can do about it:

Although those involved in community pharmacy may not want to admit it, the thought of a medication dispensing error lurks in the back of our minds. And rightly so, as medication errors are a leading cause of mortality in the United States.

Did you know that pharmacies utilizing a telepharmacy workflow experience less medication dispensing errors than traditional pharmacies? It’s true. TelePharm’s retail telepharmacy software utilizes multiple built-in redundant checks, hard-halt workflows and HIPAA-compliant security, as patient safety is the most important aspect of pharmacy. Additionally, ensuring that the pharmacy is adequately staffed and using pharmacy automation tools like tablet and pill-counting machines can also help reduce medication dispensing errors.

5. Growing revenues

What you can do about it:

In order to continually grow your pharmacy, you must differentiate yourself from the competition. Here are a few ways to ensure your pharmacy is positioned for growth:


Offer a delivery service

Offering a delivery service is a wonderful way to compete with big-chain pharmacies. This can be especially helpful for elderly patients, parents at home with sick children or those living on the outskirts of the city. Also, setting up a partnership with nursing homes and assisted living facilities is a great way to ensure a profitable delivery service. We would suggest a service area within a 15 or 20-minute drive of the pharmacy.  

Get the most out of your pharmacy’s front-end

It’s important to make sure your front-end is organized and optimized for success. Be conscious of the layout, use end caps purposefully and make sure all of your employees are updated on new products and their benefits. Upselling is also a great way to grow revenues in the pharmacy. Make sure the product you’re offering matches what the patient actually needs. These simple but effective tips can help increase sales in your pharmacy.

Connect with your customers digitally

Social media, email marketing and online search advertising. If you don’t know much about those topics, you should. Social media, specifically, can be an effective tool to spread awareness about your community pharmacy and help you attract new patients and more business. Read 5 ways to make your independent pharmacy more competitive for more information on digital marketing tips.

6. How to get it all done in a day

As if five troublesome things weren’t enough, how are you supposed to work through them each and every day? Here are a few tips on how to manage everything that concerns you in the pharmacy:


Breathe and be positive

Step away for a moment if you need to. Collect your thoughts and be positive about the situation. Being negative will rub off onto others and make the issue even worse. One thing at a time. 


Don’t become an introvert! Engage with your employees and make sure you’re working with your team and communicating effectively to resolve issues together.


Prioritizing will help reduce stress levels and allow you to check things off your list as you power through the day. Get your patients on their way and then talk about the benefits of the new multivitamins on an end cap. After that let’s reach out to our wholesaler and vendors to see what options we have to improve cash flow. Prioritize daily!


Let’s not dwell on issues in the pharmacy; let’s think about what we can do to work through them! Any ideas on how you can combat top issues facing community pharmacy this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

Please contact us for more information.