5 Hot Topics for Community Pharmacists in 2023

As a new year approaches, pharmacists have so much to look back on and be grateful for, and a world of opportunity in front of them. Here are a few things to be ready for right away in 2023.

It’s that time of the year again. Time for independent pharmacists to reflect on our amazing accomplishments and think about what we’ve learned so we can make what’s ahead even better.

You don’t need a crystal ball to see the opportunities and challenges headed our way. Many of the hot topics on the horizon have been brewing for a while. Pharmacy technology, tech-savvy consumers, data security—it’s all picking up speed, and pharmacists need a plan. To get the process started, let’s take a look at 5 topics for 2023 that should be on every pharmacist’s mind.

1. Find a partner, not just a vendor

Pharmacists play an important role in improving patient health, but to reach our full potential, we need to expand beyond medication dispensing. Chronic disease management, point-of-care testing, and patient education all are opportunities, but a lot to take on.

A true business partner can help a pharmacy be the dependable health resource their community deserves. Gone are the days of hiring a vendor with little knowledge of your business or vested interest in the people you serve. More than ever, it’s all about trust.

2. Artificial intelligence (AI) is key to pharmacy profitability

High-deductible health plans continue to grow in popularity. This is forcing customers to ramp up their search for new ways to save on their medications.

Pharmacists need a pricing solution that keeps customers happy and builds the bottom line. That’s where AI comes in. It provides data-driven insights that take that guesswork out of drug pricing and enhances the pharmacy experience. The buzz around AI in the pharmacy is growing—look for it to get even louder in 2023.

3. Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) will be under a bigger microscope

It’s a nationwide problem: Pharmacies are going out of business due to the predatory business practices of traditional PBMs. Up until now, PBMs have operated completely in the dark.

With no accountability or transparency, they obscure the true cost of drugs, and the consumer often pays higher prices. But FTC investigations are set to shine a brighter light on these nefarious practices.

By pushing for change, the FTC can help pharmacists run a profitable business, and help consumers make better choices for their health. Look for FTC hearings and their impacts in the coming year.

4. Consumers want more technology and transparency
Today’s tech-savvy consumers see the benefits of a simpler, more transparent medication shopping experience. Prescryptive’s recent Independent Pharmacy Trends study showed 72% of consumers would be likely to use their mobile phone to compare drug prices, and 85% believe knowing the price in advance would improve their pharmacy experience.

By providing mobile-friendly solutions and transparent pricing options, you’ll drive more customers to your counter. The coming year is the time to invest in new technology.

5. Data security takes a front row seat

Nearly 50 million people in the United States had their sensitive health data breached in 2021. Hackers are everywhere, and community pharmacies are seen as relatively soft targets.

Advanced security protections have never been more important. Find a technology partner who can protect your patients’ data while helping your business grow in 2023.

But the real bottom line will never change

No matter what comes our way in 2023, one thing that will always stay the same: Our focus on the patient. Taking care of people is at the center of everything we do. With the right technology, trusted partnerships, strategic thinking, and a ton of hard work, independent pharmacists will thrive and help build healthier communities.

About the Author

Paige Clark, RPh, is the VP of Pharmacy Programs and Policy at Prescryptive, overseeing the company’s policy work to drive awareness, utilization, and scope of trusted independent pharmacists nationally. Prior to Prescryptive, Paige spent 11 years at Oregon State University's College of Pharmacy, driving policy initiatives for the state’s licensed pharmacists, including the prescribing of birth control and tobacco cessation services. Paige also worked as the Staff Pharmacist Consultant for the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, managing rule writing, legislative endeavors, and regional and national policy work. She is a frequent speaker and presenter at national industry conferences and a multi-award winner, including several Pharmacist of the Year recognitions.