Magazine article Drug Topics

More Independent Pharmacies Offer Patient Services in Challenging Healthcare Environment

Magazine article Drug Topics

More Independent Pharmacies Offer Patient Services in Challenging Healthcare Environment

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Approximately half of independents counsel patients on medication adherence. They also recommend generic chug use to patients and physicians, and achieve a high acceptance rate (83%), said B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), speaking in October at the association's 115th annual convention in Orlando, Fla.

"Forty-eight percent of independent community pharmacists are offering medication adherence counseling services. It was 39% last year. NCPA has encouraged that strongly, because we believe adherence is the building block for pharmacists to develop clinical services. In addition, pharmacists' recommendations to physicians about generic chug use are accepted 83% of the time," said Hoey during a media call on the results of the recently released 2013 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health. The Digest comprehensively analyzed 2012 financial and practice data of independent NCPA members.

"There is an urgency around the advancement of pharmacy practice, and now is our time to act. Because of poor medication adherence, the rampant prescription drug abuse problem, and the worsening primary care shortage, pharmacists are ideally situated," Hoey said.

More independent community pharmacists now offer medication therapy management (69% in 2012 vs. 67% in 2011), compliance packaging (41% in 2012 vs. 38% in 2011), phone calls and text reminders (39% in 2012 vs. 22% in 2011), and medication synchronization (39% in 2012 vs. 35% in 2011).

"There is also excitement about the program Simplify My Meds, which allows patients to have their prescription medications synchronized for easy monthly pickup," Hoey said. "This also allows the pharmacist to have a comprehensive medication overview with the patient." More than 30,000 patients are enrolled in the medication synchronization program through 1,000 independent pharmacies.


The number of independent community pharmacies has declined slightly, from 23,106 in 2011 to 23,029 in 2012. Prescription sales volume has also decreased from a mean of 62,969 in 2011 to 62,583 in 2012, perhaps owing to a decline in refill rates resulting from mandatory mailorder policies. Refill rates were 53% in 2012, 54% in 2011, and 55% in 2010, the Digest noted. This decline in sales volume has translated into a 3% pre-tax net profit on average for independents in 2012, which is approximately on par with 201 l's figure of 2.9%. However, according to the Digest, 10 years ago the pre-tax net profit for independents averaged 4%. …

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