This article is sponsored by KeySource.

How do specialty pharmacies remain sustainable when margins are leaner than ever? It is a question often asked as pharmacies search for creative solutions to maintain profitability. 

Today, it can be expensive to own and operate a specialty pharmacy with shrinking margins, direct and indirect fees, and governmental impact, as well as the expense of URAC and other accreditation requirements. 

Fortunately, there are solutions, including ever-increasing opportunities with generic specialty pharmaceutical products. As more alternatives to branded specialty medications become available, forward-thinking pharmacies have the choice to provide generic therapies to their patients. Yet this journey still requires careful navigation and a knowledgeable partner. 

Top 3 Ways Generic Pharmaceuticals Could Improve Business for Specialty Pharmacies Today 
Many pharmacies may be missing significant, profitable opportunities that are beneficial for patients and advantageous for the pharmacy’s bottom line via generic pharmaceuticals. Here are the top 3 ways specialty generic pharmaceuticals can help you: 

1. Generic specialty pharmaceuticals give pharmacists an opportunity to increase their return on investment and decrease their cost of inventory. Specialty pharmacists often overlook the impact that generic pharmaceuticals can have on profits because generics compose such a small portion of the overall medications being dispensed. However, because these high-touch products are so costly, even a small percentage in savings can quickly become significant and positively impact the bottom line. 

2. A knowledgeable, accredited generic pharmaceutical partner can guide the pharmacy in diversifying to areas of specialty that complement the pharmacy’s current areas of specialty or expertise. In today’s competitive market, handling just one specialty is often no longer enough. The right generic pharmaceutical partner can help answer the pressing question: “What do I do next?” This partner combines timely knowledge of what specialty generic therapies are available with a sharp business acumen. A knowledgeable partner can guide the pharmacy in diversifying to areas of specialty that complement the pharmacy’s current areas of specialty or expertise. This not only enables increased growth but can also help protect the pharmacy against competitive threats. 

3. Partnering with an expert accredited generic pharmaceutical distributor opens access to options many specialty pharmacies do not realize are available. Pharmaceuticals and therapies are rapidly changing as more generic options become available. In these busy times, serving patients is the top priority for pharmacists who have limited time to keep abreast of evolving specialty generics availability. Access to generic prescriptions can often enable businesses offering specialty pharmaceuticals to do this more effectively. Using specialty generics when possible may significantly reduce the financial burden on the pharmacy’s customers. 

What to Look for in a Generic Pharmaceutical Partner 
Many regional chain and independent specialty pharmacies have built their businesses on the belief that small business can offer better service. Just as the patients of these pharmacies can expect responsive, solutions-driven service, specialty pharmacies should be able to expect this from their generic pharmaceutical wholesale providers. 

Here are key qualities specialty pharmacies should look for in a generics partner: 
  • Agility to tailor the program to the specialty pharmacy’s unique needs. When a pharmaceutical distributor is not associated with or owned by one of the largest wholesalers in the marketplace, this partner has greater flexibility to quickly respond to a pharmacy’s needs—whether that is a Saturday delivery or auto-shipment. 
  • Integrity and trust–From transparency in pricing to appropriate accreditations and authentic support, the generic pharmaceutical distributor should offer a proven record of timely delivery and accuracy that evokes confidence. 
  • Value that extends beyond better pricing–A partner who is an expert in the market and understands business potential can offer guidance to reach shared goals and achieve value-based care. 
  • Technological support to ship cold-chain and hazardous products are particularly important in specialty therapies. 
  • Expertise–The partner should not only understand today’s specialty pharmacy market but should also provide insights to help the pharmacy realize value-driven goals. 

If these traits are not clearly evident in a specialty pharmacy’s distributor, the pharmacy may not be working with the right partner. In an ever-changing market, pharmacies must continue to review the market in a competitive manner. With the right generic pharmaceutical distribution partner, offering or increasing specialty pharmacy services can continue to effectively serve patients while maintaining profitable margins for success. 

The authors are employed by KeySource. KeySource has been reaccredited as a pharmaceutical distributor by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) (formerly known as Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributors® (VAWD®)). KeySource is at the forefront of providing affordable generic solutions for many chronic and complex medical conditions, including cancers, bleeding disorders, HIV/AIDS and pulmonary conditions that require specialized therapies. In a market traditionally dominated by distributors of name-brand pharmaceutical products, KeySource, with its on-staff corporate pharmacist and specialty pharmaceutical consultant, understands the complexity of specialty diseases as well as the medications and therapies used for treatment of those conditions. This expertise enables KeySource to work alongside specialty pharmacists to identify opportunities for servicing patients in need. 

 
DAVID E. HOFFMAN, RPh, is Senior Vice President, Sales for KeySource. 

ANDY CRAWFORD is Director, Corporate Sales Group for KeySource.