Daniela Weiszhar, head of marketing and communications at Pharma Logistics, said that interacting with consumers is vital to finish this year on a high note. In an interview with Drug Store News, she outlined strategies her company recommends for the mass retail industry.
Drug Store News: What should retailers in the healthcare space do to finish 2020 as strongly as possible?
Daniela Weiszhar: To finish 2020 in the best position possible, healthcare retailers need to continue listening to their customers to ensure that they are providing value, not just in the products or prescriptions that they need, but also in services and flexibility. Adaptability is a necessity, especially in this tumultuous time.
Additionally, getting a handle on their cash flow and improving efficiency in operations, especially on the pharmacy side, will not only be important for rounding out the rest of the year but also for starting 2021 as strongly as possible.
DSN: What are some strategies healthcare retailers should consider employing in 2021?
DW: Implementing continuous improvement in areas like inventory management and using data to drive decision-making are two great strategies to employ in 2021. Inventory management can drive efficiency in retail pharmacies by optimizing the entire process from the ordering stage through expired pharmaceutical returns for credit. This is a great efficiency improvement goal. Analyzing sales and demand data next to inventory records is a good way to uncover efficiencies — both in ordering and in stocking to have what customers need, while also reducing waste. Although some retail pharmacies are able to handle this in-house, those that can’t may want to bring in a consultant to start the new year off right.
DSN: What are the biggest challenges facing retail pharmacies today and how can they be overcome?
DW: Regulatory issues and patient demand are primary factors impacting retail pharmacies that always present at least a few challenges. And, of course, COVID-19 continues to be a challenge in all areas of health care. Connecting back-end process efficiencies and front-end ordering and inventory management is a good first step toward alleviating commonplace challenges.
Staying vigilant on regulatory issues like DSCSA to ensure compliance is also important, especially as the implementation period continues to roll out. By November, pharmacies must have authentication processes in order to verify medicines prior to dispensing. Transactions will only be able to be made using the serialized products.
Patient demands can also drive decisions beyond inventory and sales, including providing a safe and environmentally friendly way for people to dispose of their unused and expired medicines
DSN: How does Pharma Logistics help retail pharmacies succeed?
DW: Pharma Logistics’ programs are specifically designed to help our customers improve cash flow by driving efficiency in the expired pharmaceutical returns process. We provide our customers with actionable advice to help them reduce waste and get credit for their expired products. Our Rapid Credit Program expedites credit return in a few as 14 days so that those funds can go back into the business. Rapid Credit is available with both box and ship and onsite services.
In addition to box and ship and onsite pharmaceutical returns, we also have a drug take-back program available. For free resources, such as handbooks, checklists, webinars, calculators and other tools that pharmacies can use to improve their businesses and remain current on compliance issues, check out our website, pharmalogistics.com.
DSN: What does the future look like for retail pharmacies?
DW: Supply chain strength and track-and-trace capabilities are top of mind for retail pharmacies in both the near future and the longer term. Pharma Logistics will continue its commitment to help pharmacies clean out their unsalable inventory; collect return credits; and remain compliant with all relevant federal, state and local regulations. Moving forward, success will be determined by focusing on services and revenue streams that will thrive regardless of what happens.