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New Year's Resolutions 2019


Happy New Year!

2018 has seen a drop in income across most dispensing doctor practices; mainly this is due to patients taking their prescriptions elsewhere, drops in Category M reimbursement prices, less Manufacturer Discount Schemes and overall drops in dispensing margin.

So what can you do about this?

Here are my top tips for 2019.


Generics – make sure you are purchasing your generics at the best possible price below Drug Tariff, If possible make sure you have protected time to make periodic checks of your purchase price against a number of suppliers. Where you are using a blanket scheme, make sure you know what your actual purchase price or discount is. If needs be speak to your representative or supplier ot make sure you understand the scheme you are on.

Manufacturer Discount Schemes – make sure you are signed up to as many as possible, and please take the time to speak to the pharma company reps who come to your practice. It is important that the GP in charge of the dispensary takes time out of his or her busy day to see reps. Also keep an eye on those schemes which have gone and look at your formulary accordingly. Use buying groups where appropriate to ensure maximum income from branded dispensing.

Parallel Imports – consider using these where there is no equivalent generic or where the UK discount is below clawback [11.18%]. Parallel Imports have come along way since the 1990s and most patients should accept them quite happily.

Non-discounted items – try purchasing from a specialist wholesaler where you may be able to get a small discount.

Automation and Technology

Robots – it may be worth considering the introduction of a dispensing robot to your dispensary. Robots are certainly practical and are much less expensive now than they were ten years ago. Where you are doing a large volume of items per month, a robot could free up time in the dispensary which could be spent on smarter purchasing. A dispensing robot can also aid with stock control if set up correctly.

PharmaSelf24 – this is effectively an ATM for dispensing medicine to patients out of your normal dispensary opening hours. If you are going to compete against online pharmacies and other local pharmacies which stay open later than you do, this machine should be a consideration.

CDsmart – this is an online, digital controlled drugs register which speeds up the recording of controlled drugs; not only is it fast and easy to use, but it is safe and should save up to four hours per month in time spent on the cd register. You will never need to buy another cd register again, and with a very low monthly cost, it should pay for itself AND free up staff time to work on other tasks in the dispensary.


Invest in your staff - always make sure your staff are up to speed with their training, and make sure all dispensary staff are as well trained as possible. Well trained staff will know about generics above the drug tariff in purchase price and how to deal with them and also well-trained dispensary staff will reduce your number of returned or switched prescriptions.

Set up a Delivery Service

As more and more online pharmacies are set up you will get more and more requests from patients to have their medicines sent to them via a postal service. And of course your patients have every right to exercise this request; so why not go that little bit further in your customer care and provide a delivery service? Many practices that have a delivery service have managed to retain a high proportion of their dispensing patients. It isn’t as costly as you think and this could be one of the most important decisions you make in 2019.