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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The New Answer

Ruminating as I do, I developed a few ideas that should be presented to all 50 State Boards of Pharmacy and all professional organizations, national and state.
The first I shall present today. Pharmacies need to be removed from businesses where the pharmacy is not responsible for at least 50% of the business. It cannot be a loss leader. It cannot occupy space as a  department in a big box retailer. If we are going to reestablish ourselves as a serious profession, we have to take ourselves seriously. It's like the food court in a mall. You move from Chinese to Dairy Queen to Indian to McDonald's to Pretzels to Cookies. In a big retail store you move from Automotive to Gardening to Pharmacy to Baby Clothes to Electronics. I believe we should move to smaller-sized pharmacies. Stand-alone stores, if you will.
I know, "where will we put them? how will this work? is it feasible? what about robberies?". I get it. That's not the point. Logistics can be worked out later. Pharmacies need to be more independent. The big chains offer somewhat acceptable business models. The other locations, including grocery stores and discount clubs, have no business in pharmacy. We, as a profession, need to dictate how our profession is sold to the public. The only way around the 50% or grocery/club exclusion is if they agree to establish pharmacies according to the business model laid out below.
All hospitals that are built or being renovated in any way must have a separate outpatient pharmacy attached if they currently do not provide one. All of those doctor parks, where multiple offices are squished into a big building or spread over a large area, must include a pharmacy or two on property.

Pharmacies have no business being in retail business. What if we set them up like doctors' offices? We would have a receptionist sitting behind a glass window who greets you. She is your only access point to the pharmacy. She asks you to fill out forms to verify all your information is correct. You sign a permission slip allowing us to bill your insurance and "treat" you today. You will also sign that, should any issues with billing occur, you will be notified/paged/texted and asked to contact them. We would offer free wi-fi and some courtesy phones for you if you wanted to contact them right away. Upon successful billing and filling of your prescriptions, a pharmacist would be waiting for you at a counseling window. She would take the time to go over everything with you. Upon completion of this fully billable service, you would proceed to the checkout window where you pay your copays before exiting our office.

We could set up different offices within so our pharmacists could perform different tasks throughout the day including medication verifications, DUR checks, taking doctor calls, making doctor calls, prior authorizations, immunizations, etc. We would have an office of specialists at your disposal. Once you enter a room, you are being billed for their knowledge and services. We would remove the fast-food mentality and retail experience from the sullied reputation of our profession and get back to what we really are supposed to be: Professional Pharmacists.

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