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Pharmacy Industry Insights: Online Pharmacy

Hello and welcome to the first of our series of monthly newsletters.

Over the next while we will bring you industry summaries and insights using NHS data to keep you appraised on changes that affect you from a business point of view. We will also show you how we help customers to address their challenges head on and take action.

This month we will focus on the Online Pharmacy sector

Industry Overview

In the NHS December data, Items for the month were down 2.9% on the month of December compared to the previous year as a result of fewer trading days, and that makes for a flat market (0.2%) for 2017 which is significant. We can see that the larger groups and corporates lost 6 million items to the Independent and Online sectors.

The Online Pharmacy sector which grew by 20% over the last year. This is a cause for concern for many pharmacy group owners.

'Pharmacy2U’ are dominating the online pharmacy sector. The remaining pharmacies in the online sector are performing well but relatively benign. A closer look at ‘Pharmacy 2U’ reveals a relentless growth path in both Nominations and Items. The reduced Item numbers in December compared to November are most likely merely a blip on this path.

Overdue Patients

Although you can see your nominations growth on a weekly basis, it is very difficult to see the patients that have been lost to another pharmacy. By using RWA’s Overdue patient reports it is easy to track patients that had once been regular to your pharmacy, receiving EPS R2 scripts but then had stopped coming in.

By tracking patient visit cycles, we are able to identify when a patient should be in for their medicine. We then give a patient up to 45 days to return for their medicine before declaring them overdue. A patient count summary is then created for each store so you can see if there is a problem and determine the extent of the problem. Following on from here a patient level report is created to identify to the pharmacy which patients have lapsed, how many times they had previously visited in the last 12 months, and how much that patient’s dispensing is worth to their pharmacy.

Our expectation is that once the pharmacy has this information to hand they can contact their patients to follow up on their medicine compliance or wellness. In some cases, the patient is unaware that their nomination has been moved, maybe they are a delivery patient or maybe they have a carer that is managing their medicines for them. What ever the reason, we have found that there is significant evidence of returning elapsed patients after direct contact from their pharmacist.

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Should you like more information about your own area, please free to contact us, email or call us on 0808 1890 617.