Trends in the Pharmacy Industry in 2019

4 Trends Considered

We’ve recently been researching trends in the pharmacy industry in 2019-2020, and there’s some interesting information coming to light!

We’ve also been surveying some of our pharmacy manager connections on LinkedIn and a lot of what is mentioned in this “Medical Director” article entitled “6 Predictions shaping the future of pharmacy in 2019” is certainly coming up as topical.

Prominent amongst the six, we identified:

  1. Electronic prescribing
  2. Non-Contact Dispensing Systems (Robotics)
  3. Natural medicines
  4. Medical Cannabis regulation

Let’s consider these quickly in more detail:

 

1. Electronic Prescribing

Medical Director writes:

"Electronic prescribing will continue to gain momentum across Australia, following the Federal Government’s decision in 2018 to increase its investment in new medicines by $2.4 billion. The decision means $28.2 million will be injected into the initiative over five years from 2017–18 to 2021-2022, to upgrade the e-prescribing software system used by clinicians to prescribe medicines."

This initiative is intended to improve PBS efficiency, compliance, and drug safety, but it also has cost implications for pharmacies as they are required to implement and integrate softwares and data requirements.

 

2. Non-Contact Dispensing Systems (Robotics)

A recent Drug Topics article on “The Future of Pharmacy Automation,” states

"...the mechanics of medication dispensing are mind numbingly tedious, repetitive, and nearly impossible to perform without error. [but there is] a solution: Automation. Dispensing robots never get bored, never get distracted, and make far fewer mistakes than their human counterparts. And in this era of ever-shrinking prescription margins, dispensing robots free up pharmacists and technicians for more profitable clinical services that require human judgment."

The consequences of this statement are even more mind boggling for the pharmacy industry:

“Dispensing medications will eventually become fully automated using various types of robotics,” predicted Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness, a Tabula Rasa HealthCare company. “Clinical work—the education, motivations, and support that pharmacists provide to patients to enact behavioral change—will be the new foundational service.”

Robotic dispensing machinery is not cheap!   This is a classic example of where flexible and convenient equipment financing solutions can be very beneficial to the pharmacy owner.

 

3. Natural medicines

Quoting Medical Director again:

“the rise of patient demand for natural and alternative approaches to medicine means our healthcare system has become more agile to adapt and meet patient expectations. In fact, as early as 2000, the increased demand was recognised as something public health needed to take more seriously.”

This is most certainly a welcome trend in the medical and health-care industry.  There is now so much eveidence-based information under-pinning the value of natural solutions informed by qualified practitioners such as nutritionist and naturopaths, but often the front-line staff work in the pharmacy!

It’s not unusual now to see naturopaths or other natural health practitioners either having full-time or sessional roles within the contemporary pharmacy setting, and the shelf space devoted to supplements is growing all the time.

IOt might be time to refurbish and create your pharmacy’s own dedicated natural health section, or consulting office?

 

4. Medical Cannabis regulation

“In 2018, we saw an increasing interest in the use of cannabis for medical purposes, with Governments at both Commonwealth and State and Territory levels in Australia implementing a raft of legislative and policy change to allow the cultivation, manufacture, prescribing and dispensing of medicinal cannabis products for patients in Australia.”

Medical Director

This places huge demands on pharmacy staff for training in this new field as well as a sound understanding of ethical, compliance  and other considerations.

Summary

The pharmacy industry is certainly undergoing more than its fair share of change currently!

For more information on these trends, please refer to our source articles:

Medical Director – 6 Predictions shaping the future of pharmacy in 2019 

https://www.medicaldirector.com/news/medicines-information/2018/12/6-predictions-shaping-the-future-of-pharmacy-in-2019

Drug Topics – The Future of Pharmacy Automation.

https://www.drugtopics.com/automation/future-pharmacy-automation

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