NCPDP, thank you for a great show! With excellent turnout, face-to-face dinners with retail pharmacy stakeholders, and a forward-looking crowd ready to embrace the new normal, we truly savored every moment. So, what exactly is the new normal for retail pharmacy? Clinical services. We knew this was coming, COVID-19 simply accelerated the timeline. The genie is out of the bottle, and pharmacy isn’t going back to traditional dispensing alone.
1. Drug Profits in Freefall
Between DIR fees and prudent payers, drug reimbursement are hitting the floor. This isn’t entirely new, but it’s also not getting better. Pharmacies that rely solely on prescriptions will eventually be out of business. The time to diversify revenue is now – and clinical services line the path forward.
2. Lack of Customers in the Store
Online shopping isn’t a 2022 phenomenon. Nor is it a 2020 innovation. However, the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the growth of online shopping by 47% for over-the-counter medicines. That means those customers are not running to your pharmacy’s brick-and-mortar location for those goods. So how do you get them back into your stores? Clinical service appointments.
3. The New Normal: Pharmacy and Healthcare Equity
We know that 90% of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy and many in underserved or rural locations in the country cannot easily get to a traditional physician’s office. The declarations made by the PHE (Public Health Emergency) and the PREP Act cannot be taken away if/when the PHE is eventually allowed to expire, the American public needs them too much. As history has taught us, once the American public is used to a service, there is no going back.
4. Test to Treat is Top of Mind
Despite not going as initially hoped, the test and treat program still bears worth and excitement. The battle for prescriptive authority isn’t over, and pharmacy proudly stands united, ready to fight for the right to prescribe.
NCPDP Conference Summary
In short, NCPDP was a blast, and we gleaned insights we’ve been preparing for: the future of pharmacy is clinical, and that future blasted through the brick wall in 2020. As the “new normal” sets in, the question now is: Is your pharmacy’s technology infrastructure ready for clinical services? If not, let’s chat.