What to know about adding a dispensary

There are several benefits to adding an in-house dispensary or pharmacy to your practice, including additional revenue, patient convenience and even improved patient compliance. However, as a recent Physicians Practice piece points out, if the process were easy, every office would do it.

As presented in the article, here are some of the key considerations, challenges and solutions:

  • Larger practices often create full-fledged in-house pharmacies, which are regulated on a state-by-state basis. While this business model holds the potential for high margins, it can be tough to attain enough volume for the pharmacy to be profitable because of the significant overhead and administrative burden.
  • Practices that want to open simpler onsite dispensaries have a variety of service vendors to choose from, with each offering a different level of practice control and potential for profitability. Examples of third party vendors that help practices process the paperwork and stock their offices with prepackaged quantities of prescription medications include QuiqMeds, Dr. Dispense, PrimaryRx, MedX Sales and Physician Partner.
  • For physicians that want to be able to fill prescriptions they write from bulk inventory rather than prepackaged quantities, companies such as Physicians' Pharmaceutical Corp. (PPC) offer dispensary services that function a bit more like actual pharmacies--with similar caveats. Though practices can potentially earn more by managing their costs themselves, significant volume is needed to make a profit. In addition, practices that partner with PPC must hire a certified prescription technician to fill the prescriptions and process payment.
  • It can be challenging for a practice to fill enough prescriptions to make the venture worthwhile. Not only must practices take care in purchasing the right amount of inventory for the drugs their patients need, but staff and physicians must also be prepared to constantly remind patients that the onsite service is available.
  • Before starting an in-house dispensing service, review your plan with legal counsel to ensure compliance with the state board of medicine policies and insurance plan rules, advises Texas-based consultant Owen Dahl.

To learn more:
- read the full article in Physicians Practice