Your pharmacy does so much more than sell prescriptions. Not all your pharmacy’s products require a doctor’s prescription, as over-the-counter health products are a major part of the pharmacy industry.

Some of the most helpful medications are found in the outer aisles of your independent pharmacy.

Over-the-counter health products can be a financial goldmine for your independent pharmacy since they’re easier to access and are often less expensive than their prescription counterparts.

Here are some facts about over-the-counter health products and how they can become a financial juggernaut for your pharmacy.

The Basics of Over-the-Counter Health Products

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) describes how the availability of over-the-counter health products “facilitates self-care, which is the foundation of the health care pyramid.”

Over-the-product health products allow patients to be more proactive in their health journeys. Because they’re readily available without a prescription, they don’t have to wait in an office or hope their insurance will cover a certain medication.

The availability of over-the-counter health products also lessens the need for many doctor visits. The CHPA found that there would’ve been 6 million more heartburn-related doctor visits in 2008 had it not been for OTC products.

That’s not to say over-the-counter health products are a fool-proof substitute for prescription medications. Certain ailments and illnesses can only be treated by prescripted means, namely diabetes, cholesterol, bacterial infections, and more.

However, over-the-counter products can be a great solution for minor illnesses or injuries.

Understand the Power of Over-the-Counter Medical Products

Now that we know what over-the-counter health products can do, we can learn about their impact on the industry. Furthermore, you’ll see how you can wield its power for your own independent pharmacy.

As mentioned before, adults mainly use over-the-counter health products act as a first resort for health problems. Specifically, 81% go to pharmacy counters before making a doctor’s appointment, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

According to the same source, the average U.S. household spends $338 per year on over-the-counter health products — a far cry from how much people usually spend on prescription medications.

Not only are they the first resort for a patient’s health but also the first line of financial defense.

Lastly, patients make an estimated total of 2.9 billion retail trips to purchase over-the-counter health products. For an independent pharmacist, that means there are 2.9 billion opportunities to boost your pharmacy’s profits.

Remember that over-the-counter health products are much easier to access than prescriptions, so take the time to talk to indecisive patients unsure of what to get.

Doing so establishes a rapport between you and the patient. It’s a small, brief, but impactful way of delivering exceptional healthcare services. It’s also another way to get new patients for your independent pharmacy. Two birds, one stone — 2.9 billion times.

That’s where the power of over-the-counter health products lies: patients can solve their ailments through them, all the while fulfilling an independent pharmacy’s role in delivering personalized care.

The impact of this can’t be read through numbers or figures. It’s an impact that separates the good pharmacies from the exceptional.

Make Your Counter Look Like a Million Bucks

Presentation is key in the world of independent pharmacy. It’s been well established that books do get judged by their cover, and a healthcare facility is not exempt from such a treatment.

Though we covered familiar ground with our “7 Tips for Cleaning Your Independent Pharmacy” blog, the other side of your pharmacy also needs some loving care and attention.

Much of the same rules apply — especially the importance of preventing your pharmacy from accumulating dust. Refer to that blog for more detailed advice on how to make your independent pharmacy look spotless.

Now back to the over-the-counter side of things. Beyond the dust-busting and floor cleaning, make sure your over-the-counter health products are properly hanging on your shelves.

Those little bottles can easily be thrown out of place by some belligerent child. Now, your pricey Flonase Sensimist spray belongs in the slot where a $2 Benadryl bottle is.

Price tags are taken as gospel, so make sure your shelves properly correspond with their prices. Otherwise, you’ll be making more overrides than you fill prescriptions.

Use Them as a Gateway for Better Health

We’ve now established the health benefits of over-the-counter health products, as well as how they can be a way to strengthen your customer base. Now it’s time to look at how it can directly help your independent pharmacy.

Patient consultations are a great way to learn about a patient’s health journey. Everyone has their own set of health issues and it’s up to you to help deliver more personalized care.

Remember that your independent pharmacy should be more of a healthcare destination than just a hub for prescriptions.

To achieve this, you need to offer more services beyond the expected flu shot or blood pressure screening.  As you learn more about your patient, think of which clinical services or vaccines they should get.

Over-the-counter health products can act as a vital turning point in a patient’s health journey. One conversation can change everything for the better.

That way, you’re doing more than just recommending an over-the-counter health product — you’re helping the whole person.

How Will You Use Over-the-Counter Health Products?

Sometimes the simplest solutions are right in front of you. Over-the-counter health products have great untapped potential to boost your independent pharmacy to the next level.

Now that you know the power of over-the-counter products, make sure they’re readily available at your pharmacy. Be prepared to give comprehensive and friendly consultations to your quizzical customers.

Over-the-counter health products let your independent pharmacy become a certified healthcare destination. Clean your shelves, properly stock your items, and your pharmacy will prosper in no time.

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