Think your pharmacy’s care is reaching all members of the household?
If you’re not offering veterinary medicine, you are missing out on a huge opportunity for your pharmacy and business. According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, around 85 million households own a pet. In 2017, pet owners spent over $69 million on their pets, which is projected to increase to $72 million in 2018.
MedMetrics Compounding Pharmacy in Chandler, AZ, has already taken advantage of this growing industry by incorporating veterinary compounding within their pharmacy’s services. Adam McCown, co-owner and pharmacist at MedMetrics, has seen great success from his pharmacy’s pet-centric side. “We all work together on new formulations when we need to think outside the box on what would work in the lab, what makes sense therapeutically, what the pet owners are comfortable with, what the veterinarian wants to use,” he says. “It’s a team-based approach.”
Pets may already be your patients’ best friends, but they’ll quickly become yours too when you see all the benefits veterinary medicine offers community pharmacy.
Of course, adding another service to his pharmacy made a difference in MedMetric’s success. “A big percentage of what we do for pet medicine is compounding,” Adam explains. “About half of what we do is compounded, and a big portion of that falls into the veterinary space.” If your store is near a veterinary clinic, consider contacting them and forming a collaborative practice.
If you have wanted to explore collaborative practices, veterinarians are an excellent way to gain new provider relationships. “How compounding came to be a big part of our business is a big credit to the veterinarians we have in our area who are approachable and open to new ideas and receptive and easy to contact,” says Adam. “Sometimes it’s an easier group to market your services to than physicians who have a front office staff that try to act as a gatekeeper, so to speak. We were able to get our foot in the door, and it just grew from there.” Start conversations with your local providers. You both may discover innovative solutions for your mutual patients.
All healthcare providers are dealing with the ongoing opioid epidemic. Adam cites how easy it is for owners to take advantage of their pets’ hydrocodone, tramadol, and other narcotics. Recently, he had the opportunity to educate local veterinarians at the Arizona Veterinarian Association where he discussed regulatory changes that affected both pharmacy and veterinary practice and opioid crisis-fighting techniques. One clever method Adam and his team use to minimize opioid abuse is to flavor the compounds. “I can take a tablet and flavor it with liver. That’s less appealing to the pet owners who might be sharing their medication with the dog,” he adds with a chuckle.
MedMetrics wields a great advantage over the big-box pharmacies in the Phoenix area: compounding. Their larger competitors don’t offer that service, which increases MedMetrics’ appeal to pet owners. Their most popular compound, fluconazole, addresses a fungal infection called Valley Fever that is unique to the southwestern region of the U.S. Because they offer a vital medication local pet owners need, Adam hopes to use it as an opportunity to educate them on all the benefits MedMetrics offers. “Our goal is to try to turn those pet owners into our patients, as well,” he explains. “We would like for them to hear about us first through their veterinarian, but then when they learn about us, we can let them know they can get their whole family’s medications filled with us too.”
Adam and his team strive to be involved with the Chandler community and all the families they enjoy serving. “It’s a nice, small community feel within a big city,” he says. “We want opportunities to plug in.” Along with speaking at veterinarian conferences, MedMetrics hosts pet-centric events at the store to engage with their patients and promote their services. For example, a local police officer recently began asking for donations for his retired police dog that had been diagnosed with serious diseases. MedMetrics compounded some medications for Bronco, the dog, at no cost, and decided to plan a “Yappy Hour” event that allows the Chandler police force to interact with the community and the pharmacy staff to network with attendees.
If you’re looking for a niche service that attracts more business and makes your pharmacy a healthcare staple in your community, veterinary compounding may be a viable option for your store. The high standards of care and quality that community pharmacy already uphold will be appreciated by veterinarians, families, and the pets they love.