Sustainable Pharmacies: How to Go Green

Business trends often show that consumers will choose greener options when those options are made available. But pharmacies are not always known for being particularly green. It can be difficult to maintain a balance between being environmentally friendly and adhering to health and safety regulations. However, there are ways that pharmacies can become more sustainable.

Reducing Waste

Pharmacies generate a large amount of plastic waste. It is possible, however, to reduce the amount of plastic waste with a few simple steps, like:

  • Ordering larger bottles of medications instead of several smaller bottles.
  • Recycling plastic waste by sending it to recycling depots that will accept prescription bottles and empty blister packs.

Protecting the Water Supply

The presence of pharmaceutical drugs in water supplies can be traced to human excretion and improper disposal of medications. This poses a threat to natural ecosystems and living organisms. Educate customers on the best ways to dispose of medications to show your dedication to the community.

Communicating with Pharmaceutical Manufacturers

By expressing concern about the need for sustainable practices to manufacturers, it’s possible to advance dialogue about environmentally friendly solutions. Urging manufacturers to conduct more research of the effect of drugs on the environment will provide more answers to questions patients are asking.

Green Building

Like any business, pharmacies consume energy and resources. If you own your building, you have more freedom to construct, install, or retrofit aspects of your facility. However, even renters can choose to implement more sustainable lighting, heating, and cooling solutions.

Learn more about the movement for environmentally sustainable pharmacy practices from the National Institute of Health. Has your pharmacy taken environmental initiatives? Share in the comments below.

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Pros and Cons of Compounding Medications

Compound medications are drugs that are prepared specifically for a patient according to a prescription provided by a doctor. This individualized medication consists of different ingredients mixed together in the prescribed strength and dosage. How a compounded medication is made is similar to how a recipe is followed.

How Are Compounded Medications Used?

Compounded medications are often prescribed for dermatologic conditions, thyroid conditions or hormone replacement, or pain. They can be made for any age group, but they are not commercially available through a pharmaceutical company or brand name.

Pros of Compounded Medications

A compounded medication is customized for a patient’s needs. Compounding can be used to create custom strengths or dosages from familiar medications. Combining different ingredients can create unique treatments that would otherwise not be possible with traditional prescriptions. Pharmacists who handle compound medications serve a niche market, and may attract more customers looking to fill specialized prescriptions.

Cons of Compounded Medications

Despite the benefits that compounded medications provide, there are some cons. These medications can be expensive, even if the patient has health insurance. For pharmacies, offering compounded drugs generally requires specialized equipment. Time is a factor to consider: do you have the resources to add compounding to your staff’s workload?

For many patients, compounded medications can make life easier and provide them with options that are not widely available with traditional prescriptions. Compounding medications in your pharmacy might give you a competitive edge, but it does require investment and savvy marketing.

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Tennessee Bans Prescription Transfer Incentives

It has been common practice for pharmacies to offer cash rewards or gift cards to entice customers to transfer their existing prescription from another pharmacy. In some cases, customers were able to earn up to $500 a year by transferring prescriptions. However, in Tennessee, the practice of offering cash incentives for prescription transfers is now prohibited with a recent Tennessee State Board of Pharmacy rule.

Reasons for the New Rule

The new rule addresses the concern for patient safety and care, because continually transferring prescriptions and using several pharmacies instead of one makes it difficult to monitor possible drug interactions. Tennessee has followed suit, as other states before it have prohibited this practice.

What this Means for Tennessee Pharmacies and Others

Customers still have the freedom to choose where they want to fill their prescriptions. Pharmacies are still free to maintain their drug discount card programs and loyalty programs where customers earn points on their purchases, provided these programs don’t promote transferring prescriptions from one pharmacy to another. But this doesn’t mean pharmacies are prevented from seeking new prescription customers, and Alphascrip can help.

Alphascrip offers ROI-driven programs for states where transfer incentives are still permitted and alternative ways to attract customers where transfer incentives are no longer allowed, including:

  • Supplying sample vouchers to physicians
  • Copay offset assistance programs
  • Offering compounding services
  • Patient adherence programs

While the new rule may result in setbacks for companies that attracted customers through transfer rewards, it also provides an opportunity for companies to focus on retaining the customers they have, boosting brand reputation and offering other cost-saving options.

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