The Changing Role of Independent Pharmacists

Independent pharmacies once comprised the majority of pharmacies in the U.S. Today, however, many independently operated pharmacies have been forced out of business by corporate pharmacies that have hundreds of locations in American towns and cities.

Independent pharmacies that stayed in business during the rise of the corporate pharmacy were not just lucky. Rather, they survived and thrived by adapting the independent pharmacist role to specialize in providing health-related products and services that big pharmacies don’t specialize in offering. Some common examples of these offerings include:

  • Medication delivery
  • Patient charge accounts
  • Medicine compounding
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Disease immunizations

Some corporate pharmacies provide these services as well, but independent pharmacies tend to provide them with greater frequency. According to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), medication delivery, patient charge accounts, medicine compounding, durable medical equipment, and disease immunizations are offered by 79 percent, 75 percent, 65 percent, 64 percent, and 62 percent of independent pharmacies, respectively.

In light of these statistics, the independent pharmacist role has become highly valuable to patients whose health needs don’t match up with the core practices of big pharmacies. This establishes independent pharmacies as key players in improving patient health outcomes and eliminating preventable healthcare costs. Because they now provide a variety of healthcare products and services, independent pharmacists are increasingly viewed as “health care providers.”

Working With Physicians and Prescribers
One of the most obvious changes in the independent pharmacist role can be seen in how independent pharmacists work closely with primary care physicians and prescribers to monitor and improve patient health outcomes. For example, due to recent legislation (i.e., SB 493), pharmacists in California can now work with physicians and prescribers to provide the following products and services at the pharmacy location instead of the doctor’s office.

  • Administering drugs and biologics
  • Providing health care information
  • Review of patient progress
  • Provide CDC travel medications
  • Provide independent immunizations
  • Order and interpret medical tests

Considering that California is a major trend setter in terms of novel legislation, it is reasonable to assume that other states will follow the orange state’s lead in empowering pharmacies to carve out a new independent pharmacist role, one that benefits physicians by providing them with more time to render core services, benefits patients by improving their health, and benefits independent pharmacies by allowing them to offer a wider range of products and services.

How We Support Independent Pharmacists
As a manufacturer of pharmacy supplies, Drug Package has supported independent pharmacies since 1881 by providing medication adherence packaging, labels, bags and a variety of other products that pharmacies use daily.

For more information about how we support the independent pharmacist role by providing strategic products and services, call us today toll-free at (800) 325-6137, or email us your questions any questions you may have. We look forward to helping your independent pharmacy play a more active role in improving patient outcomes and lowering medical costs that burden the healthcare system.