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Pharmacy Marketing Resources

5 Free Resources for Marketing your Community Pharmacy in the New Year

Looking to enhance your marketing efforts for your independent pharmacy in 2017?

Here are 5 free tools to get you started on the right foot:

MailChimp

Engage your patients and customers on a regular basis with email communications. MailChimp is completely free for up to 2000 subscribers and then plans start at only $20 per month. And it’s super easy to use! Create visually appealing, mobile phone-friendly messages in no time.

Email and eNewsletter topics could include weekly promotions, store events, health and wellness tips, medication reviews, customer testimonials, and nutritional advice. Placing your pharmacy’s information in your customers’ inboxes will keep your pharmacy top-of-mind. And offering special incentives, such as email-only coupon codes, will ensure your customers are reading your messages!

MailChimp

Canva

Want to design visually appealing flyers, presentations, thank-you cards, social media graphics, and email graphics without having to learn a complex graphic design program? Canva was designed for you, the non-designer! Canva makes it quick and easy to design and customize your own documents, social media posts, infographics, event flyers, and even internet ad graphics! It’s completely free and royalty-free images are only $1!

Canva is the perfect tool for making your email communications stand out and look professional. Design a custom branded email header, special ad promotions, and custom email graphics in no time. The professional look and feel of your communications will make your pharmacy stand out in the eyes of your target audience.

Canva

Pexels and Pixabay

Speaking of royalty-free images, check out the thousands of photographs and images available on Pexels and Pixabay! All image downloads are completely free, though donations are appreciated.

Don’t risk using a copyrighted image in your promotions. You’ll be amazed at how creative you’ll feel and how professional your pharmacy’s image will be by using the high quality images found on these sites.

Pexels and Pixabay

Survey Monkey

Wish you had more customer feedback? Develop and deploy simple customer satisfaction surveys for free on Survey Monkey. Upgrades are available that enable additional analytics but the free version gives you the ability to create a simple 10-question survey that can be distributed on your pharmacy’s website, in your email communications, or on your social media profiles.

Take advantage of Survey Monkey’s survey templates. The Customer Satisfaction Survey template includes great questions, such as: ‘How likely are you to refer our pharmacy to a friend?’ and ‘Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with our pharmacy?’. Consider offering an incentive to increase your response rate, like a special coupon or a gift card for your pharmacy.

Survey Monkey

Hootsuite

You know you should be managing a presence for your pharmacy on social media, but who has the time? Hootsuite provides a simple platform that allows you to manage up to 3 social media profiles at one time. Turn social media management into a weekly task that is more convenient for you – Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts. And take advantage of their auto-schedule feature, which schedules posts at the optimum time for your audience.

Our Marketing team (of two!) takes advantage of the following Hootsuite features: 1. Streams – set up streams that include search terms or hashtags (e.g., #IndependentPharmacy, Pharmacy in [Name of Your Town], #healthcare, #pharma) so that we can contribute to the online dialogue in our industry; 2. Mentions – see when someone mentions your pharmacy specifically; 3. Quick Search – see what’s trending online so you can be part of the conversation!

www.hootsuite.com/plans/free

 

All of the above tools provide tons of free resources to help you get started, including tutorials and examples. Or, if you have neither the time nor the interest in doing your own marketing, perhaps you would consider hiring a local college student part-time? Most college students are well-versed in social media and would be able to learn the above rather quickly. Just make sure you proofread their writing!

Trxade is not affiliated in any way with the above resources and earns no compensation for referrals. (Our Marketing team is quite fond of them, however!)

Community Pharmacists Serve an Ever-Increasing Role

Community Pharmacists Serve an Important Role

Community Pharmacists Serve an Important Role

In honor of American Pharmacists Month, we would like to show our appreciation for community pharmacists and the special value they provide each day. While the challenges independent pharmacies face increase, so does their importance in our American communities.

The following discussion includes four ways in which independent pharmacists provide a significant benefit to our healthcare system.

Drug Compliance

Community pharmacists serve tremendous value to their patients and their patients’ physicians by assisting with drug compliance. Pharmacists can help their patients better adhere to their medication regimens by providing greater information on their prescriptions and known side effects, by implementing unique medication packaging, by having their doctors use electronic scripts, and by providing services such as compounding and prescription delivery.

Another way to enhance patient compliance is by implementing a prescription synchronization system, such as SyncRx. Developed by an independent pharmacy owner, Jason Turner, SyncRx places patients who take regular medications, such as diabetic patients and those suffering from heart disease, on a synchronized schedule for prescription refills. A monthly schedule provides convenience to patients and streamlines the pharmacy schedule and is proven to improve patient outcomes.

Drug compliance is a crucial component of treatment and therefore, pharmacists can plan a pivotal role in the health of their patients.

Health and Wellness

With a growing desire for health and wellness products and services, community pharmacists are in a unique position to be seen as local wellness experts. Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association, has some interesting points about expanding the role of community pharmacists in the retail grocery setting.

In an article published by Larkin in April 2016, he cites a recent Accenture report that forecasts that the consumer healthcare market will grow by almost 50 percent to $737 billion over the next five years. “The trend to a healthier lifestyle, along with an aging population, has prompted retailers to expand their health and wellness offerings and in-store programs,” he states.

Larkin continues by discussing a recent consumer trends study, conducted on behalf of the National Grocers Association by Nielsen, that shows that nearly half of respondents who primarily shop at an independent supermarket reported a there was a pharmacy within the store. “This reinforces a broader retailing fact-of-life: today’s full-service supermarket is thought of as not just a store, but also as a community resource for food, prescriptions and much more,” says Larkin.

“While supermarkets of all sizes are trying to capitalize on the health and wellness uptick, independent supermarket operators are in a unique position to make the most of this movement through the relationships they have already created with local health care specialists, including community pharmacists.”

According to Larkin, about one-third of the nation’s retail prescription medications are dispensed by community pharmacies, of which approximately 8,000 are in grocery stores.

“Similar to independent supermarket operators, with their strong community roots and deep understanding of what their customers want, community pharmacists are able to provide traditional and expanded pharmacy services to meet the desires and expectations of current and potential patients”.

Access

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects that by 2020, there will be more than 91,000 fewer doctors than needed to meet demands for patient care. Pharmacists can provide greater access to care for patients in rural or medically underserved areas.

“Enabling pharmacists to more fully utilize their education, training and expertise, and be more integrated into the patient’s health care team will also improve health outcomes and greatly benefit specific populations with chronic disease; including those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” according to NCPA.

“Small, independent community pharmacies are often located in rural or highly-urban areas, where larger, chain stores might not be as willing to locate,” according to NCPA. “Community pharmacists can play a continually increasing and integral role in bringing access to care to those areas of the country, and beneficiaries, who need it most.”

Cancer Care

Community Pharmacists provide an increasingly important role for cancer patients and the oncology physicians who treat them.

In an interview with Pharmacy Today, Community Pharmacist Jennifer Riss, PharmD, and Pharmacy Manager at Cub Pharmacy near Minneapolis, understands how difficult it is for many patients with cancer to understand their often-complex medication regimens. “Patients often go from never having taken medication to requiring several,” she said. “I make sure the patient ultimately understands the medication regimen and knows what to expect in terms of side effects and how drugs interact. The more the patient knows, the more empowered and more successful they will be in taking their medications.”

Riss knows that even though patients may have received instructions about their medications at the clinic or hospital, she believes it is important for the community pharmacist to reaffirm those instructions. “Many of these patients are overwhelmed; we should not assume they’ve received the information before their pharmacy visit,” explained Riss.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Trxade commends our independent pharmacists and pharmacy owners for all that they do to improve the health and lives of their patients. Because of their expertise and commitment to quality care, the entire American healthcare system benefits.

 

Sources:
//www.pharmacyowners.com/blog/bid/90026/SyncRx-End-the-Patient-Adherence-Struggle

//www.groceryheadquarters.com/April-2016/Pharmacy-Forum-Becoming-A-Health-and-Wellness-Destination/

//www.timesreporter.com/article/20150815/NEWS/150819503

//pharmacytoday.org/article/S1042-0991(16)30954-9/fulltext

CVS On-Demand Prescription Delivery?

CVS On-Demand Prescription Delivery? What?

Are You Doing Delivery & Marketing Effectively?

Did you know Americans waste over 8 million hours per day waiting to get their prescriptions filled? In a world where convenience is key and things are getting faster and easier, getting your prescription filled should be no different and that expectation will be spreading throughout the U.S. pretty quickly as new third party companies offering pharmaceutical delivery services pop up around town and market directly to your consumers. A few weeks ago I drove by a CVS that had a 20 foot sign saying “We Deliver” and I had to do a double take. Now don’t get me wrong, I have seen quite a few Independent Pharmacies in my day that offer delivery services so it’s nothing new, but CVS wow. That was always a great differentiator for Independent Pharmacies. Then it made me think that “most” of the Independents I know do not market that they offer delivery services, the convenience of it, and the benefit of saving time and potentially scheduling a drop off time that works with their schedule.

Well… Why not? I remember a presentation I attended where the speaker started with there are innovators who are evolving and then there are dinosaurs. Well… We all know how that story ended for the Dinosaurs so we won’t go into detail but let’s just say there aren’t too many of them around last time we checked. Are you the innovator or the dinosaur? If one CVS is offering this service and marketing it with a huge 20 foot sign, even if it is a pilot program (I have only seen the sign at one store) then I suggest you evolve and not only offer this service, but market it as a convenience so you do not lose additional market share to the big guys. Most Independent Pharmacies probably don’t offer delivery due to potential legalities, maybe it is lack of additional resources, or just debating overall if it is feasible and it makes business sense. I say find a way even if it is next day delivery only during specific times to help from a cost and logistics standpoint.

With over a third of prescriptions not being filled for patients with insurance, studies show it is mostly due to patients being too busy and not having a convenient outlet to get their prescription filled within their availability. Imagine networking with your local companies and providing them a service to deliver their employees prescriptions in a confidential manner? I assume a small percentage would take you up on that offer although what does 500 new patients mean to your pharmacy? Get 100 local companies on board at an average of 5 employees per company taking advantage of this perk, with the average American filling 12 prescriptions per year that equates to an additional 6,000 prescriptions filled annually. For most Independent Pharmacies that is similar to adding an additional month to the calendar year.

Many of these prescriptions by not being filled create additional health risks that have a direct effect on employee performance. A healthy employee is a productive employee. It’s a win win for everyone. Take it a step further… After building a relationship with a company imagine distributing flu shots. I worked for a large corporation that had a blood mobile offering blood donation services and they visited us quarterly. How would this be any different? They would have probably jumped at the opportunity to offer such a service during flu season to help with employee attendance and productivity. As Independent Pharmacist’s and business owners we have to continuously evolve and find new revenue opportunities in which a demand can be created, even if it is a new market and unchartered waters.

In New York City, New York a local business ZipDrug has created a phone App for on demand prescription delivery service from any licensed pharmacy within the city in which the doctor submits a prescription electronically, 7 days per week, 8am – 10pm, with the exception of controlled substances. How convenient? I love it! The company’s goal is to master their concept and expand to other cities. Patients enter their insurance information on the App, schedule a delivery at their convenience, get updates on the delivery, have the ability to communicate with the driver, and even make their copayment directly on the App. The App also reminds patients of refills with an easy to refill your prescription and schedule your delivery button directly on your phone.

Suggestions:

  • Market and we suggest a big sign saying WE DELIVER. With Americans looking for new faster ways the sign alone can draw attention and new patients which may not need the service although the sign acted as a reminder that you exist.
  • Why stop at Prescriptions? Especially in small towns it is a great resource to get upsell opportunities and deliver other goods along with the prescription. Need vitamins, DME’s, etc.? A quick phone call beforehand to your patients with a proper discovery you may find that your patients have additional needs that you can be of immediate assistance and convenience.

I recently spoke with Ravi Shah, PharmD from Harlingen Pharmacy out of Harlingen, TX that has a (BIG) sign on their pharmacy that they deliver. I asked him what results this has provided to his business and below is a synopsis of his response:

“It has increased revenue although in Healthcare it is not always about generating revenue. It is about the patient engagement. If Pharmacists view delivery the same as a face to face interaction it becomes part of your overhead. Geographical area and population density have a direct effect on how easy it is for a pharmacy to be able to offer delivery services, in our area we service a radius of 30-35 miles. Where it has really made a difference is in our community. For example we work with Hospice to deliver medications so the nursing staff can spend more time on patient care. It’s about helping patients and making a difference which is why we became Pharmacists.”

Well said Ravi! Show your support and like Harlingen Pharmacy’s FB page (Here)

Pharmacy Items Delivered By Drone at the Push of a Button
So close… The future WAS almost here: Drone delivery! A company out of San Francisco (//quiqui.me/) brought to the market a Pharma Drone Delivery service. Unfortunately Amazon brought a lot of attention to the Drone Delivery market and the FAA banned domestic delivery services by drone until further notice. The company planned on making deliveries to SF’s Mission District by drone 24 hours a day for a $1 delivery fee with orders being dropped off to patients in 15 minutes or less. Wow! That would have been an amazing concept to see take flight.

FDA-Review-of-the-use-of-Codeine-for-Kids

FDA Review of the use of Codeine for Kids

FDA Review of the use of Codeine for Kids

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) bold statement regarding the use of codeine in children has a struck a cord with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The EMA states that codeine should not be used for children under the age 12. Codeine is an opioid analgesic used to treat pain that can also be found in children’s cold and cough medicine. Codeine is metabolized by the body and turns into morphine. It is a central nervous system depressant that can have dangerous side effects that include; slowed breathing, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, sedation, addiction, bradycardia, syncope, hallucinations, seizures, anaphylaxis, and even death.

Eric Pahon with the FDA in response to EMA’s codeine declaration, “We have looked at their data and feel it is well-presented and seems firm. We are not really recommending anything at the moment. The FDA will continue to evaluate this safety issue and will consider the EMA recommendations”. In the FDA’s defense, they did issue a warning to physicians in 2013 that advised not to prescribe codeine for children after a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy due to a higher risk of breathing complications. But was this warning heard? Was it sufficient?

Since 1999, the FDA reports that 10 children have died and 3 have overdosed on Codeine. The American Academy of Pediatrics is against giving codeine in a cough suppressant. In 2007, the FDA did however talk many pharmaceutical companies into taking over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough drugs off the market for infants. We can’t stop physicians from prescribing these medications to our patients, but we can make sure we thoroughly educate the parents of these children on the dangers of Codeine. We can also educate parents on specific signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate a problem, such as, labored or loud breathing, confusion, and fatigue.

References:
//www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/fda-taking-closer-look-codeine-kids-n385281
//www.rxlist.com/codeine-sulfate-side-effects-drug-center.htm