The following is a guest post by Dora Haar, a pharmacist and consultant with Pharmsaver, a unique and innovative solution for helping independent pharmacies manage their purchasing expenses and improve margins.
Dora thanks for sharing this valuable information with my readers here at The Honest Apothecary!!
Author: Dora Haar, PharmD, pharmacist consultant at Pharmsaver
Decreasing profit margins are undoubtedly the most significant threat to independently owned pharmacies across all classes of trade. In order for these pharmacies to survive they have to come up with ways to profit outside of just the prescription market, usually selling unique over-the-counter items such as cosmetics and other health and beauty aids. We have reached a point where the pharmacy business is relying on non-pharmacy related sales in order to stay afloat. How did we get here? And what can we do to allow the pharmacy business to succeed while relying more on the actual practice of pharmacy?
Basic economics tells us that increased profit relies on increasing inputs while minimizing outputs. There are many tools available to pharmacists that help minimize outputs. Pharmacists can save their businesses significant amounts of money by taking the time to “shop” for their pharmaceuticals- using secondary wholesalers when the price differential is significant enough. There are many “shopping” websites for pharmaceuticals that link to multiple wholesalers and allow pharmacists to see offerings at many different price points on one screen. But what tools are available to pharmacists to increase their inputs? Copayments are determined by insurance companies as are reimbursement rates, and it is usually these predetermined rates that lead pharmacies to see negative margins after filling prescriptions. Now there is a tool that can help pharmacists on both the input and output ends of filling prescriptions.
Pharmsaver.net is a unique pharmacy analytics website designed to increase profit margins for participating pharmacies. The site offers participating pharmacies an easy-to-use shopping function which allows pharmacists and purchasers to place orders without altering their regular purchasing procedures. Pharmsaver is affiliated with 12 wholesale distributors (and that number is always growing) located across the country, which creates a dynamic marketplace offering competitive pricing and many short-dated opportunities. This piece of the site is admittedly similar to other currently available pharmaceutical shopping sites, besides for the extremely significant advantage of being free for pharmacies to use. Another important distinction is that Pharmsaver wholesalers are required to update their offerings (price, quantity available and expiration dates) daily, unlike other sites which update less frequently, so while ordering on Pharmsaver you can rest assured that what you see on the site at any point in time is real, up-to-date information.
What really sets Pharmsaver apart though is Reimbursement Alert- an application exclusive to Pharmsaver that allows pharmacies to run the equivalent of a prospective negative margin report. Using this feature, a pharmacy can avoid ordering medications for which they will not be properly reimbursed after claims are adjudicated. Pharmsaver is able to calculate these margins for participating pharmacies using state MAC, PDP MAC or commercial MAC data, depending on the customer’s needs. True, pharmacies cannot change reimbursement rates. But now they have the ability to predict them and avoid creating losses by making sure that they are purchasing items at prices that will still prove profitable after claims are adjudicated.
Pharmsaver is an extremely valuable tool for pharmacies and since inception has registered hundreds of satisfied customers. The site has proven itself to be so intuitive that it recently became Innovatix’s preferred contracted supplier for pharmacy analytics. Pharmsaver’s staff is dedicated to the highest level of customer service and is available around the clock to assist in registering new customers and to assist existing customers with any questions or concerns that may arise. Additionally, as a relatively new company, we try to be very receptive to our customers’ feedback and our programmers are constantly improving the site based on customer recommendations. Our goal is to save our customers time and money in the most efficient and intuitive way possible.
Registration for Pharmsaver is free! Contact us today to set up a complimentary demonstration webinar or visit www.pharmsaver.net to learn more about the website.