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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Customer Feedback on Loyalty Program Best Practices

A new study by Maritz Motivation Solutions dispels some of the assumptions that many retailers held about consumer loyalty programs. With data gathered from surveying 2,000 consumers, Maritz was able to disprove four myths retailers have about their consumers and loyalty programs.

  • Myth #1: Consumers don’t want to pay to join loyalty programs. The survey found that 52 percent of respondents would not be willing to pay to join a loyalty program, but the remaining 48 percent would be willing. The fee paid for annual membership can offset the costs of running the loyalty program.
  • Myth #2. Convincing customers to join a loyalty program is the same as engaging them. Program enrollment is only a minimal level of commitment. The best time to capture member engagement is within the first six months of membership through aggressive communication and by making rewards attainable.
  • Myth #3. Members of loyalty programs are concerned with redemption only. Data from the survey shows that this is not necessarily a correct assumption. It’s recommended that retailers balance reward messages with opportunities to earn points. Loyalty members also appreciate tools that allow them to track their earnings progress.
  • Myth #4. Members of loyalty programs remain loyal. All retailers should be remember that all members are at constant risk of changing their loyalty. To retain high-value members, planning surprise rewards can be a good strategy.

The survey found that 43 percent of consumers join a loyalty program because they want to earn rewards. Sixty percent of consumers feel that the reason why companies maintain loyalty programs is to entice them to buy more from them. Consumers don’t fully realize that companies actually want a relationship with them. This study suggests that companies have an opportunity to engage more in the relationship side of loyalty with their program members.

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