Amazon is making a push for Pillpack, and community pharmacists everywhere are finding ways to step up and compete with their widespread advertising. Keep reading to see how you can retain your patients and choose the right adherence packaging strategy for your pharmacy.
“Forget what you know about pharmacy.” “Switch to a simpler pharmacy today.”
This is what Pillpack is telling your patients – the first of many direct marketing messages attempting to pry away your customers. What’s your defense?
Amazon’s Marketing Push
Though Amazon acquired Pillpack in June 2018, it has pushed a direct marketing campaign in recent months. Their listed features boast presorted medications and home delivery, however, independent pharmacists know that these are no innovative discovery.
These services have been around for years, so the real issue here lies in awareness. You may offer similar services as Pillpack, but do all your patients know about it? And if you don’t offer any at the moment – should you be?
How to Fight Back
Playing the defensive approach is important as your patients will inevitably begin inquiring about Pillpack, if they haven’t already. This is why you need to be equipped with the tools to provide the same services and give your customers a reason to stay.
If you receive a call from Pillpack requesting patient information for a transfer, immediately contact that patient. Explain that you will gladly set up this service for them, all in the comfort of their local pharmacy with easy access to real people who know their needs.
The silver lining of Amazon’s campaign is the awareness they are creating for adherence packaging in general. As a community pharmacy, you can – and should – take advantage of the buzz accumulating around this service. Take this as an opportunity to tell your patients that, yes, we can do the same thing for you here and more.
Here are some advertising tips on how to get the word out to your patients:
- Use your PioneerRx software! Run reports in PioneerRx to find patients who are enrolled in med sync and are likely to benefit from adherence packaging. Then, you can set custom alerts using Rx Edits to remind you to bring up this service the next time these patients come into your pharmacy.
- While You’re Waiting… Record an “on-hold” message that will play while patients are waiting on the phone to speak to your pharmacy. Bring the service to their attention so they can start a conversation with you.
- People Can’t Read Your Mind. Does your website accurately and clearly list all of your services? 97% of people look up local businesses online before even making contact, so make sure you are advertising all your valuable offerings – including adherence packaging – to create awareness and draw people in.
- Be Social. Make a few quick posts on all your social media outlets to spread the word to your online audience.
- Don’t Forget the Basics. Create some simple paper handouts you can lay out on your pharmacy counter or hang up on your walls.
Adherence Packaging: What Are My Options?
Purchasing automation technology is a highly efficient way to gain a substantial competitive advantage by saving on time and labor. This is ideal for growing businesses with high volumes of prescriptions or a significant number of patients on multiple medications.
Opting for manual dose packaging is a cost-effective alternative that still provides the same service to your patients. These are an option for pharmacies to still provide adherence packaging if they cannot get the automated technology.
Automated Strip Packaging
Automation is the only way to produce strip/pouch packaging, which is the same service that Amazon Pillpack provides. These machines will increase accuracy and speed while improving patient adherence.
Guided Blister Packaging
Both Parata and RxSafe also offer a manual alternative for light-guided blister card packaging.
Automated Blister Packaging
Synergy Medical has an automated machine for blister packs as well, giving you another option if you or your patients prefer these over the strip packaging.
Manual Blister Packaging
Going completely manual is another simple alternative, and below you will find all the supplies you might need. Medicine on Time and Pharmacy Automation Supplies both will integrate with SynMed if you choose an automated approach.
Inside Look From a PioneerRx Pharmacy
Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill in Beverly Hills, CA, a family-owned pharmacy, has been a staple of their community since 1962. Looking for a software system that would best implement med sync, they switched over to PioneerRx almost 3 years ago. Now, these med sync patients are the main users of their adherence packaging service.
Owner Jeff Gross addresses the all-too-familiar obstacle: “People are such creatures of habit.” While it is no easy task to convince a patient to completely change their medication routine, Gross notes all the ones who do participate are always very satisfied.
As patients inquire about other options such as Pillpack, “it’s important to be able to tell people that look, we can do it [too],” insists Gross. Offering adherence packaging – in some shape or form – has become a necessity in order to stay afloat.
Find the best solution for your pharmacy and have your defense ready. Don’t be left behind.