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Pharmacy Security

Pharmacy Security

Pharmacy SecurityPharmacy security has recently been a dominating topic in the news. As everyone already knows, pharmacies have always been a prime target for burglaries, theft, drug diversion and robberies.With an estimated 7,000 pharmacy break-ins occurring annually in the US, this is a possibility and a risk that everyone in our profession must face. Yet sometimes we think that although the possibility exists, this is something that happens frequently, but NOT to us! Plus it’s important to keep in mind a recent statistic that sheds significant light on the matter: pharmacies actually have a 14% probability of being the victim of a burglary, robbery or of an employee drug theft in 2019 and 2020.

The theft of narcotics and drugs from pharmacies initially received a vast amount of media and news coverage way back in 2010 when the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) came forth and declared that prescription drug abuse had reached “epidemic levels” nationally. Following the CDC’s lead, the DEA (US Drug Enforcement Agency) released their findings that in the first decade of the new millennium (2000 through 2010) the number of citizens that were abusing prescription drugs in the United States had nearly doubled (going from an estimated 3.8 million to well over 7 million individuals across the nation). Narcotics led the way with documented theft and diversion occurring at all industry levels, from the manufacturers to the distributors to the pharmacies who all have to deal “head-on” with pharmacy security. Pharmacy burglaries, robberies and break-ins reached new highs every single year since and are continuing still to do so. Adding to the problem is the ever increasing theft and diversion seen by internal pharmacy employees, and one can see easily why perhaps the chances of facing this risk are increasingly becoming more likely than not.

Pharmacy Robberies, Burglaries and Thefts Dominate the News

Recently it seems that all the pharmacy news we read is filled with an increasing number of stories regarding the burglaries and robberies of pharmacies. Every day news stories presented by Google Alerts regarding pharmacy topics are dominated with stories about a pharmacy break-in, burglary, robbery or theft by a pharmacy employee. Some examples include:
– Robber strikes Walgreens pharmacy in Collier County:
In Naples, Florida a man robbed a convenience store and then went into the Walgreens Pharmacy and demanded pills from a pharmacy employee. The suspect fled the scene and there were no reported injuries. He is still at large.
– Media cops probe armed heist at Boro Pharmacy:
In Media, Pennsylvania a suspect robbed the Murray Overhill Pharmacy at gunpoint. The suspect displayed a gun, demanded prescription pain killers and then fled with an undetermined amount of narcotics.
– Thieves Steal Unknown Amount of Pharmaceuticals from Huntington Beach Pharmacy:
In Huntington Beach, California  two thieves broke into the Bella Terra Pharmacy and stole an unspecified amount of pharmaceuticals. According to police, two men entered the pharmacy by prying open the back door. A detailed description of the thieves and of what was stolen was not immediately available.
– Pharmacy tech pleads guilty to fraud in obtaining pain medicine:
In Dothan, Alabama a former pharmacy technician at Lyster Army Health Clinic Pharmacy at Fort Rucker pleaded guilty to the diversion of narcotics by fraudulently obtaining controlled pain medications and other drugs while being employed by the pharmacy.

The Estimated Costs are Staggering

The costs associated with pharmacy burglaries, robberies, break-ins and employee drug diversion are staggering. The DEA alone estimates that over 50% of its annual budget is spent on prescription narcotics. The costs associated with the prevention and security for pharmacies alone is estimated at over a billion dollars annually. This includes insurance premiums, on-site physical security equipment such as cameras and monitoring systems, employee education, drug take-back programs and the increased reporting that’s required, plus generating and storing all of the documentation and paperwork that’s required by the DEA, State Boards of Pharmacy, suppliers and insurance companies. Perhaps the most important costs are the intangible feelings of violation, vulnerability, trauma and fear that often occurs to a pharmacist or pharmacy employee following an armed robbery.

Prevention and Being Prepared are the Solutions

Although there are no ways to totally ensure that a robbery, burglary or theft by an employee never happens at your pharmacy, there are certain steps that every pharmacy owner should consider taking:
1. It’s imperative that you have your Policies and Procedures Manual in place for employees to know what to do. Plus make sure that every employee has read it and understands what is expected of them if such a situation does occur (and be sure to document this!).
2. Update and improve your current alarm system and implement new surveillance and monitoring systems. Additionally, consider installing a narcotic safe in your pharmacy.
3. Educate and train your employees and staff. Encourage them to be aware, alert and to know what’s happening in the local area. Studies have proven that employee “awareness” is the greatest deterrent available to a pharmacy operation, and the results are that the robbers, thieves, shoplifters and burglars will choose to simply go elsewhere where the security is more lax and the employees less likely to be prepared.

What Security Does Your Pharmacy Lack or Need?

Are both you and your pharmacy staff prepared to deal with security problems, flaws and issues like these? As stated earlier, no-one thinks that these situations will happen to their pharmacy business, but these are real-life examples of the old cliche “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” being applicable. Do you have Customized Policies and Procedures written specifically for your business and employees to act on if such a crisis arises? Do you have the inventory policies in place to help determine what was taken during a burglary? Do you have ongoing training in place to help your employees in these situations that will also minimize your possible potential liabilities? If the answers are no, then contact HCC Pharmacy Staffing to see how we can help you.

About Healthcare Consultants

Healthcare Consultants is a nationally renowned full service Pharmacy staffing and consulting firm that has been in business for over 30+ years now. HCC has been helping pharmacies plan, prepare and deal with such crisis situations since being founded in 1989. Just a few examples of our services include:

Development of Policies and Procedures
– Employee Crisis Training
– Inventory Management
Pharmacy Business Performance and Efficiency
Pharmacy Management Consultation
Pharmacy Inspection and Audit Preparation and Response

Although everyone truly hopes that they will never have to deal with such horrific and potentially dangerous situations at their drugstore or pharmacy operation, HCC strongly urges you to be prepared. Don’t wait until your pharmacy is the one in the News reports and leaving you regretting that you hadn’t done enough in the security area. Known nationally as one of the industry leaders in providing a full range of professional pharmacy consultation services to its vast array of clients, HCC is owned and operated by pharmacists. Healthcare Consultants can provide proven expertise and experience in all facets of pharmacy operations, including retail, hospital and all specialty pharmacy venues. Contact us online now or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-1652 to discuss how we can help your  business run more efficiently and profitably.

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Choosing Pharmacy Consulting Firm

pharmacy consulting firmThe definition of a true consultant is an individual who is able to give you expert and professional advice. There comes a time in every business when an objective, qualified and experienced third party is necessary to help guide, direct or advise the owner or your management team. This is true for most pharmacy operations, especially when making decisions regarding expansion, increasing efficiency, establishing policies and procedures, or choosing a technology system that will best suit the individual company’s needs. Everyone can agree that when it comes to the practice pharmacy and the dispensing of drugs and medications, pharmacists are the experts. Yet knowing one’s limitations is a key to success for many pharmacy owners or managers. One need only take a moment to remember all of the failed pharmacy businesses in the past few decades to realize that running a profitable operation is NEVER a given. In any business, seeking the advice of a knowledgeable expert is often times the most effective way to solve a problem, get the correct solution and make certain that your operation is running as efficiently and profitably as possible. Try thinking about a pharmacy consultant as a coach. Are there any successful sports teams that don’t have a coach? Even professional golfers like Tiger Woods have a coach. They may be the best professional there is at playing their sport, but only an objective coach (consultant) can see what they can’t and help them keep constantly improving their game (or business operation for a pharmacy owner).

How Do You Select The Right Pharmacy Consulting Firm?

When the time comes to actually reach out and identify the right pharmacy consulting firm, how do you make sure that you are choosing the best one for your individual business’s needs? Here are some tips and actions to consider when interviewing consulting firms to help make your choice the best possible decision.

  1. Document Your Project or Needs –

    Often times being able to communicate your needs, goals and objectives will make all the difference in choosing the right firm. Write out exactly what you think you need, share details of your past experiences, what you think may be some possible solutions, plus identify what you want and expect from the consultant as best you can. Don’t waste too much time trying to document everything perfectly – after all if you can do that, then why do you need a consulting firm and their expertise? Just keep in mind that the consultant cannot “read your mind” and the better job that you do presenting and explaining your situation, the easier your choice will become in selecting the right firm.

  2. Do They Listen, Comprehend and Communicate Well?

    If you did your part and communicated your project expectations or needs, now it is their turn! The best consultants are great communicators. They are able to listen, ask the right questions when appropriate and communicate effectively. After explaining your situation and needs (as recommended above), have the firm recap what you said and what “they think that they heard”. This ensures that they understand your situation and project’s scope. Often times you may find that it doesn’t quite match up, and this can be an indicator that you may be interviewing the wrong agency or firm. After all, if they can’t understand from the very start, what makes you think that they can deliver the right advice, solution or advice at the finish line?

  3. View Them as a Partner –

    Honesty is a crucial element in making your selection. However, this is a “two way” street. When you view the hiring of a consulting firm as them becoming a partner, it’s imperative that you give them the total picture in order for the business relationship to be both effective and beneficial for your company. Obviously we expect total honesty from them, so we need to overcome any fear or embarrassment that we may have and give them the total picture. Treating them as a partner and not just as a vendor will ensure that they can achieve the best results on your behalf.

  4. Ask For Evidence –

    Every consulting firm will tell you that they can help you solve your problems or help you to meet your goals and objectives. Ask them for proof! Do they have examples or case studies of similar businesses with the same challenges or in similar situations? Do they have references that you can call and talk to? Although everyone obviously will give you references that are satisfied clients, it’s still a good idea to call them. Even if the references are happy with the results they received, it’s a good chance to ask them some important questions:
    – Were the consultants easy to work with?
    – Did they respond quickly?
    – Was the work finished on time?
    – Did they meet the budget or cost estimates?

  5.  Look For Diversity –

    Many times a consultant will be qualified, experienced and knowledgeable in just one very specific area. The best consulting firms have expertise and experience in all areas of pharmacy. This allows them to “see the total picture” of your business and can often lead to suggestions and improvements in numerous other areas of your operation. Having experience in all types of pharmacies and settings allows the consultant to come up with creative solutions for your business that a more limited firm could not produce.

About HealthCare Consultants

From major hospitals and healthcare systems to individual community pharmacies, HCC has been the nationally renowned pharmacy consultant firm of choice for over 30+ years now. We work with businesses of every size – from the corner drug store to national corporations and organizations – with only one goal in mind: to improve your pharmacy’s business operations. We can assist with expert advice in any area of your pharmacy business or practice.

We urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help you improve your business now, plus be ready for the future. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultant specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all pharmacy settings. Contact us online or call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.


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Pharmacy Consulting

Why A Pharmacy Consulting Firm?

Pharmacy Consulting ServicesIn a traditional independent retail pharmacy setting, many pharmacy owners, Prescription Department Managers (PDM) and Pharmacists in Charge (PIC) ask themselves this question: “Perhaps I could use some expert advice on some of the business decisions that are being made here?”. The use of an objective and experienced third-party pharmacy consulting firm in larger pharmacy organizations is much more widely accepted these days. Most large hospital systems, governmental and institutional pharmacies and large healthcare systems are much more likely to seek outside pharmacy consultants to assist them in their decision making process. They realize that two major absolutes exist in today’s pharmacy environment: Specialization and Objectivity. Many would agree that specialization and objectivity are “keys to success” in almost any industry, but nowhere is this more important than in healthcare and pharmacy.

The Age of Specialization

The complex nature of our society that exists today as the information age began in the early 1990’s and has peaked now according to experts, means that no individual alone could possibly operate a business when it comes to areas such as technology, human resources, legal requirements and finance. This is true not only for pharmacy, but for almost every field of industry (healthcare related or not). A friend who operates a large Internet company shared that over 20 years ago he employed one IT professional on his staff full-time. Now he has five full time IT employees: specialists in website hosting and email, VM & cloud solutions, IT infrastructure, database administration and programming.

Nowhere is specialization seen more than in the businesses of healthcare and the profession of pharmacy. Just understanding the technology in pharmacy alone takes quite an education and is an extremely time consuming undertaking. In one of our previous blog posts several years ago we took a good look at Medication Therapy Management (MTM), which included a discussion of Health Information Exchanges (HIE’s). Yet we didn’t really even touch on the majority of recent technological advancements in pharmacy such as e-prescribing, mobile health apps, and electronic health records (EHRs). When you add in the complexity of keeping up with and understanding the additions and changes in federal and state laws and regulatory agencies (DEA, FDA & State Boards of Pharmacy), it is clear that sometimes the help of an an expert is absolutely necessary. Lastly, let us just make a short list of additional areas that a pharmacy business may have to deal with and it’s pretty easy to see why having a pharmacy consulting firm as a business “partner” may be a really good idea:
– PBMs and insurance networks
– Sterile and non-sterile compounding <USP 795 & 797>
– Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)
– Integrated Delivery Networks
– Security
– Internet pharmacies


Perhaps the famous Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was correct in his observation that it is impossible for a human being to be objective about themselves. Many experts agree that this is especially true when it comes to being totally objective regarding your business or pharmacy operation. Large pharmacy business organizations, hospitals, government institutions and major healthcare systems know this to be true. They all internally have systems of checks and balances in place, yet consistently utilize objective third party pharmacy consulting firms such as Healthcare Consultants to take an unbiased look at their operations in order to maximize their operation’s efficiency and increase their revenue. Additionally, they receive vitally important feedback on operational policies and procedures, industry best practices and emerging technologies.

The need for objectivity for “smaller” clients is just as crystal clear. Sometimes it is even more necessary in an independently owned and managed retail or specialty pharmacy operation because the owner is emotionally tied to the business. We have all heard the phrase “making a decision based on your heart and not your head”. Sometimes an objective third party taking a look at your situation can make the difference between growing your business or closing it down.

The Nation’s Leading Pharmacy Consulting Firm

HCC is known to be a national leader in pharmacy consulting. Since 1989, our network of seasoned advisers and in-house specialists have provided expert guidance across all sectors of the pharmacy industry. We work with businesses of every size – from the corner drug store to national corporations and organizations – with only one goal in mind: to improve your pharmacy’s business operations. Some of the services we most commonly provide include:

From major hospitals and healthcare systems to individual community pharmacies, HCC has been the nationally renowned pharmacy consultant firm of choice for over 29 years now. HCC can assist with expert advice in any area of your pharmacy business or practice. We urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help you improve your business now and be ready for the future. With a full-time staff of experienced in-house Pharmacy Consulting specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all Pharmacy settings. Contact us online or call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.

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Amazons Effect On Pharmacies

Will Amazon Affect Independent Community Pharmacies?

Amazon Affect on Independant PharmaciesBy now everyone knows that the giant web-retailer Amazon has announced its intention of entering the prescription marketplace. As reported by CNBC in May of this year, Amazon is actively engaged in getting into the multi-billion dollar prescription industry. It actually seems that the same reasons that Amazon is so interested in gaining a share of this lucrative space may actually be the same reasons that the rise in new independent community pharmacies is occurring: The rise of high deductible insurance plans and a national trend showing an increased number of consumers paying for their health care services. Additionally, the recent report released by IMS Holdings (the largest health care information company) that prescription spending over the next 5 years is expected to rise by over 22% is leading many industry analysts to believe that there is plenty of room for the independent pharmacy to flourish and thrive.

Independent Community Pharmacies Have a Competitive Edge

Many feel that the local independent pharmacies actually have a competitive edge to both Amazon and the big drug chains such as Walgreens and CVS. They base this on four primary reasons:
1. Service –
According to several recent consumer surveys, customers are more willing today to pay for customer service than ever before. Especially consumers in the senior citizen population segment. Can anyone name a chain store or supermarket based pharmacy that is willing to deliver your prescriptions to your house? Several of the large chains do “promise” home delivery services, but let’s look at the “fine print”. Using Walmart as our example, take a good look at Walmart’s Home Delivery page:
– First and foremost they are basically offering a mail-order solution to their pharmacy patients.
– “Home Delivery” service equates to “mail order” as they use the US Postal system and it takes 7 to 10 days for your medications to arrive. Additionally, if you have an emergency and desperately need your prescription medication, you then will immediately understand that their home delivery service is a sham. According to the “fine print”, you need to “have your prescription called in and filled at a Walmart retail pharmacy location; there’s no option to expedite shipping for the Pharmacy Home Delivery service at this time”. If you check Walgreens and CVS you will find the same scenario.
As a basis for comparison, a quick search of “home delivery pharmacy in Orlando, Florida” on Google resulted in over a dozen (18 total) independent retail community pharmacies that were willing to deliver to a patient’s home the same day.

2. The “Community” Aspect –
Prescription sales comprise roughly 95% of the average independent’s gross revenue. Compare this to the large retail chains that average about 50% and make most of their profit on non-prescription items and front-end merchandise. Studies of the retail industry as a whole have shown that people would rather shop at stores that are local and familiar, plus where they know the employees and feel welcomed when the staff recognizes them and even knows their names. Like it says in the old Cheers TV show theme song: “You wanna be where everybody knows your name”.

Additionally, the wait time in the large chain stores is usually extremely long and as consumer surveys have shown “very stressful” to many patients. This is even more true for elderly consumers and patients. In other words, “there is an hour wait time to fill your prescription. So please wander around the store and purchase a bunch of items that you didn’t come in the store to buy and that we make a lot of profit on selling to you”. Many times a patient is extremely ill and an hour or more wait can seem like an eternity to them. Most independents are able to fill a prescription in as little as ten to fifteen minutes. Plus they are able to “push” the sick person’s Rx to the front of the queue due to the decreased prescription volume normally seen. Additionally, there are normally less patients actually waiting inside the pharmacy area, and isn’t it frequently the case that a waiting customer will say “go ahead and fill their’s ahead of mine” when someone is really sick?

3. New drugs and biologics –
The advancement of new prescription medications is increasing exponentially. Thus the emergence of specialty pharmacies. The large chains and perhaps, even Amazon, simply cannot meet the demand for these. Nor can they replace the community pharmacist when it comes to consulting on the complicated scenarios that the biologics present to dispensing.

4. An aging population –
People are living longer than ever before and that means more prescription sales. In the US alone, projections estimate that the number of citizens 65 and older will more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060. Even more significant are the projections that the senior citizen (65 and older) age group’s share of the total population will increase from the current 15% to a staggering 24%. As noted previously, with prescription sales comprising roughly 95% of the average independent’s gross revenue, the future of this aging population translates into both stability and profitability for the independent retail pharmacy.

Is Amazon Serious About Entering the Prescription Market?

The answer is that no one really knows for sure. As noted previously, CNBC reported that Amazon is actively engaged in getting into the multi-billion dollar prescription industry. Then Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.6 billion resulted in a dramatic “pummeling” of pharmaceutical retailers such as Walmart, Costco, Kroger and Target as examples (who collectively lost an estimated $22.6 billion in market capital. The PBMs (Pharmacy Benefits Managers) were also hit hard with CVS Health Corp and Express Scripts Holding Company seeing slides in their stock prices.

However, some recent reports are questioning if Amazon really is planning on entering the game, and if so, how soon. According to the experts at MarketWatch, it is important to note that after close examination the Amazon’s earnings calls since 2006, there was absolutely no mention of pharmacy. They state that Amazon entering the pharmacy market reports “are driven by unsubstantiated and unconfirmed press reports, not by Amazon itself”.

Are You Considering a Pharmacy Startup?

The bottom line is really that Amazon will probably not affect the independent retail community pharmacy industry. Whether Amazon eventually does choose to enter the game or not, the timing to open up a new independent pharmacy business has never been better.

Pharmacy startups and opening new pharmacies have been our business now for over 28 years. Having helped open hundreds of new pharmacies, HCC ensures that all aspects of the business are covered and done right. We offer you the support of an experienced staff who have been through the process many times and know the business inside and out. Whether you are a seasoned business professional with experience or simply considering a pharmacy venture as a new business investment, HCC can help.  Contact us now online or call us at (800) 642-1652 for a Free Consultation.

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.Pharmacy Domains and VIPPS

.Pharmacy Domains and VIPPS

HealthCare Consultants has helped numerous clients obtain their VIPPS accreditation and certification.  Now comes the .Pharmacy domain name from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and many pharmacy business owners are confused as to how it works. One of our in-house pharmacy consultants spent the time yesterday with a NABP consultant to get the facts on exactly how the certification and accreditation process works, plus get some clarity for our clients on the costs to participate in the program. We would like to quickly thank Ms. Gertrude Levine who works at the NABP as a Policy and Communications Project Manager for her patience and explanations regarding the details of participating in the VIPPS program and obtaining a .Pharmacy web domain. The NABP does provide some excellent information on their website, but since the .Pharmacy program has its own website, putting all the details together was very challenging, Here at HCC we have assisted several clients in obtaining their VIPPS accreditation, yet now the .Pharmacy domain requires additional expertise to achieve success.

The history and background of the VIPPS program –

The VIPPS program has been in existence since 1999 and stands for The Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites. The program was initiated by the NABP to provide a way of accrediting pharmacies that sell and dispense prescription medications online via the Internet. As HCC has noted numerous times in the past, online and Internet pharmacies can pose a major safety threat to consumers who are trying to obtain their medications via an online pharmacy (both licit and illicit drugs). According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, 96% of the almost 11,500 online pharmacies and Internet drug retailers reviewed by the board association were operating in conflict with pharmacy laws and practice standards. Not only practicing outside of the laws and pharmacy standards in place to ensure public health safety, the NABP found that “many of them sell dangerous, unapproved, substandard, and counterfeit medicine”. Violations have included stolen personal and financial information, virus-laden spam e-mails and even online pharmacies selling pills that contain drywall or rat poison.
It is very important to note that one of the major contributors in the establishment of the VIPPS accreditation initiative was actually the Google search engine. Google makes the majority of its profit through Sponsored Ads and Advertising listings that appear in their search results. These are called Google AdWords (also commonly referred to as “pay-per-clicks by Internet marketers). Google utilizes a rather complex “bidding” system to display these advertising results to searchers and must receive a commendation in joining and enforcing the efforts to have safeguards instituted to protect their site visitors. Additionally, Google has strictly adhered to their policies regarding these AdWords and has chosen safety over profit in regards to the Internet pharmacy business. Although Google accounts for the majority of results in regards to the total search engine volume, both Bing and Yahoo also require VIPPS accreditation to participate in their pay-per-click online advertising programs for pharmacies and drugs.

.Pharmacy Domains –

In a continued effort to ensure consumer safety, the .Pharmacy domain was created. The .pharmacy domain is actually a piece of a website’s address and therefor cannot be “faked”. In essence the NABP became the clearinghouse for obtaining the new .Pharmacy domain. A pharmacy that wants to be certified must first fill out an application that is reviewed and approved (or rejected). It is crucial that this application form be filled out correctly. It is recommended that the pharmacy use a reputable Pharmacy Consulting Firm (such as HCC!) to have the best chance for being approved. Some of the factors that must be addressed in the application process include:
– All pharmacy licenses are in good standing with all State Boards of Pharmacy
– Pharmacy Managers (and all “pharmacist in charge”) are properly designated and in good standing when it comes to their licenses
– All preexisting disciplinary actions must addressed (and explained in detail if necessary)
– A written policies and procedures manual MUST be submitted for review
– The online pharmacy’s website MUST be in compliance with all of VIPPS standards
After submitting the application, the NABP will review within a 60 day time period and grant the applicant the ability to register the .pharmacy domain or request additional documentation. It is important to note that the applicant MUST provide a “working” secure site for review (or at the least a website on a development server). In other words, you cannot obtain approval first and develop the site afterwards.
Lastly, if approved for a .Pharmacy domain, the business then must apply and purchase the domain through one of the NABP approved domain registrars. currently there are 14 and you can click here to view the approved registrar list, It is interesting to note that the major Registrars such as GoDaddy and Network Solutions are not on the list (and choose not to participate in the program because it is done manually and there will not be enough volume for them to make enough of a profit).

Fess and VIPPS Accreditation –

The initial fee is for the application. This fee is paid to the NABP and is $975 per site. So if you operate two separate sites for your business, you must apply twice and pay $1,950 (2 x $975). However, the application fee is based on the number of sites, not the number of domains that you want to buy. So if you would like to purchase more than just one domain for a site, then only one application fee is required.
If a pharmacy site already has VIPPS accreditation in place, then the application fee is waived. HOWEVER, even if you do already have VIPPS accreditation in place, you MUST submit your application to obtain the .Pharmacy domain by June 30, 2017. If you do not, then you will be charged the $995.

The next fee is for the . Pharmacy domain. This is paid directly to the Registrar as noted previously. Although no pricing is available online or posted on any of the NABP sites, after investigation it is $1,000 per domain annually. This is considerably expensive as opposed to regular domains which average about $15 each annually. It is also extremely important to be aware that there are what are being called “Premium Domains” that can be purchased. These “Premium Domains” include terms and words that are deemed “search engine lucrative” or easily remembered by consumers and are associated with a particular disease, generic medication, or general pharmacy related concept. These domains are in “high demand” and the actual cost is set by the registrar. There is no price list available regarding these domains and each one must be contracted for on an individual “first come basis” with the registrars.

Lastly is the VIPPS accreditation fee. The costs are based on the type of pharmacy and can be quickly summarized:
1. Community-based independent pharmacy only doing business in its home state and operating three or less stores: $6,000.
A $3,000 application fee (which includes the first year’s annual participation fee), plus a  3,000 survey fee.
2. A pharmacy with an Internet practice in three or less states and shipping to patients in only those three states: $5,000
A $2,000 application fee (which includes the first year’s annual participation fee), plus a  3,000 survey fee.
3. A Drugstore Mass Retailer, HMO Pharmacy or PBM Pharmacy; $8,000.
A $5,000 application fee (which includes the first year’s annual participation fee) plus a $3,000 survey fee.

Once again it is important to note that there may be additional fees involved. Each additional web domain (or URL) costs another $2,000 in the application fee or annual re-certification fees. This $2,000 fee may also be applied to any alterations to existing domains that NABP sees as “significant enough” to require confirmation of compliance with VIPPS criteria and standards.

Is the .Pharmacy Mandatory?

At this time the .Pharmacy domain is not mandatory. It is basically “business as usual” regarding operating and promoting an online pharmacy business. However, all VIPPS accredited pharmacy sites are being urged to obtain the .Pharmacy domain by June 30, 2017 to have the application fee of $975 to be waived. Additionally, those pharmacies that apply and are approved prior to June 30th will be included on the website that consumers will be advised to utilize to ensure that the online pharmacy they purchase prescriptions and drugs from are legitimate and safe.

Although being labeled as the “wave of the future”, the real key is Google. At this moment, Google requires the VIPPS accreditation to become automatically eligible to advertise on their site (as does Bing and Yahoo). BUT the current Google policies do NOT require the .Pharmacy domain for US and Canadian websites. We at HCC are watching how Google will react to this regarding their e-advertiser program and advise our clients appropriately.

If you are considering obtaining VIPPS accreditation or the new .Pharmacy domain, we urge you to contact Healthcare Consultants today! HCC is a full service Pharmacy Consulting firm that has been in business for over 27 years helping pharmacies plan, prepare and deal with business issues. HCC is owned and operated by pharmacists who are experts in the development and implementation of policies and procedures in all areas of Pharmacy practice. It is also a good opportunity for you to ensure that your pharmacy is in compliance with all state licensing requirements and to have all of your pharmacies’ policies and procedures reviewed by experts. Contact us on line or call us today at 800-642-1652  to discuss how we can help you.


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Florida HB 625 Managed Care Plan Provider Networks

Florida House Bill 625 Regarding Managed Care Plan Provider Networks:

Florida House Bill 625 was introduced and filed in the Florida State Senate in March 2017 and is now in committee/council (HIS). Many independent community pharmacies in Florida are strongly advocating for the bill as it relates to the current Managed Care Plan Provider Networks. Essentially HB 625 would prohibit a managed care plan from excluding any participating pharmacy that meets the credentialing requirements and standards established by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and that accepts the terms of the plan. It also basically requires all managed care plans to offer the same rate of reimbursement to all pharmacies in the plan network.

Issues With the Existing Managed Care Plan Provider Network Rules:

Most independent community pharmacies are strongly in favor of the new rules. As many see it, the problems with the existing rules are that they are restrictive to what are considered “industry fair practices” and result in the patient facing limited options or choices in getting their prescriptions filled. To sum up the issues, the advocates of the new Florida House Bill 625 point out the following existing issues:
– The current rule allows Medicaid managed care plans to limit the pharmacies allowed in their Medicaid Networks based on meeting Federal Medicare network adequacy standards.
– AHCA adopted federal Network access standards currently only require plans to have a pharmacy within a 30-minute travel time for patients in urban areas and a 60-minute travel time for patients in rural areas. This access standard creates a hardship for Medicaid recipients who have limited transportation and resources.
– These closed networks have forced consumers to leave their local pharmacies that many Medicaid recipients often rely on for an array of medical services, advice and assistance.
– Several plans have negotiated pharmacy services using only 2 or 3 chain pharmacies, thus excluding hundreds of local Florida based pharmacies from participating in the Medicaid program.

Many organizations have rallied behind the proposed new Florida House Bill 625. An example is the Florida Independent Pharmacy Network (FIPN) who has been strongly urging that proponents of the bill to take action and reach out via phone &/or email.  Below is a list supplied from FIPN regarding the contact information for the Speaker of the House, the Committee Chairs and the Committee Members:
Representative Richard Corcoran (Speaker of the House)
District Ph: (813) 792-5177 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5000
Representative Travis Cummings (Health & Human Services Committee Chair)
District Ph: (904) 278-5761 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5018
Representative MaryLynn Magar (Health Innovation Subcommittee Chair)
District Ph: (772) 545-3481 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5082

Health Innovation Subcommittee Members:
Representative MaryLynn Magar – District Ph: (772) 545-3481 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5082
Representative Shawn Harrison – District Ph: (813) 910-3277 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5063
Representative John Cortes – District Ph: (407) 846-5009 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5043
Representative Daisy Baez – District Ph: (305) 442-6825 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5114
Representative Manny Diaz, Jr. – District Ph: (305) 364-3072 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5103
Representative Brad Drake – District Ph: (850) 951-0547 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5005
Representative Nicholas Duran – District Ph: (305) 860-7119 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5112
Representative Roy Hardemon – District Ph: (305) 795-1224 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5108
Representative Patrick Henry – District Ph: (386) 238-4650 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5026
Representative Sam Killebrew – District Ph: (863) 291-5254 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5041
Representative Paul Renner – District Ph: (386) 446-7644 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5024
Representative Bob Rommel – District Ph: (239) 417-6200 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5106
Representative Jackie Toledo – District Ph: (813) 281-5549 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5060
Representative Jay Trumbull – District Ph: (850) 914-6300 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5006
Representative Frank White – District Ph: (850) 595-0467 – Capitol Ph: (850) 717-5002

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Testimonials for Pharmacy Consulting and Staffing

Testimonials for Pharmacy Consulting and Staffing:

HealthCare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing has been a national leader in regards to Pharmacy staffing, placement and consulting services and is known as a “full service” Pharmacy staffing company since 1989. With all the services that we provide to both pharmacies and pharmacists, it it sometimes easy to overlook the fact the we are one of the nation’s most successful and respected staffing and placement firms in the pharmacy employment area. Additionally, our nationally accredited in-house team of Pharmacy consultants has helped a vast array of clients nationally for over 27 years now.

Don’t take our word on how great our Pharmacy consulting and staffing services are. Read for yourself what our clients say about us:

Having worked with Healthcare Consultants for the past five years, we have been extremely pleased with their ability to match our staffing needs with their candidates.  We have used them for a variety of services, including both temporary and permanent placement of pharmacy staff, out of state licensing, as well as consultation for regulatory issues.  We have always experienced great success with their recommendations and have found them to be efficient, timely and very responsive to our needs.  Bob Miller, the owner and President, is highly involved in understanding the ever changing pharmacy industry, as well as being completely in tune to the different needs of his clients.  They are hands-on, responsive and extremely knowledgeable.  I would highly recommend their services to anyone looking for Pharmacy Staffing and Pharmacy Consultative Services.
Bob Hoye

I have used HCC both as a pharmacist looking for a job myself, as well as Director of Pharmacy Services needing to find qualified pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to add to our team, so I have insight into HCC from both sides of the employment picture. From my own personal perspective, I credit the HCC staff with finding my current job at 1800PetMeds, at which I am still working ten years later! Bob and the team at HCC have also done an excellent job in referring well-qualified professionals. In fact, many of the referred pharmacists and technicians have become dedicated long-term employees of our pharmacy. The service provided by HCC is timely, professional, and hassle-free.  I highly recommend Bob Miller and the staff at HCC, as the service they provide to both the employer and the prospective employee is second to none.
Eddie Khoriaty

I have used the services of Healthcare Consultants since the company’s inception.  Bob Miller and his team are extremely responsive to meeting my staffing needs, as I rely on and use HCC exclusively.  They provide vetted, high quality pharmacists and technicians to fill an immediate need or long term assignments.  I recently utilized their placement services and hired three technicians.  Naturally, I’ll continue to use them in the future.
Bob Pruneau, R.Ph.

What quickly comes to mind is the high level of talented professionals that HCC has provided to us over the years. So impressive is that we have hired a couple from them to become our full time employees.  I continue to be impressed by the level of personnel that they have provided to us and equally as impressive, is how quickly they get the positions filled.  In some cases we are looking for highly qualified multiple-licensed pharmacists and HCC find great people quickly! I would also like to mention that HCC has also helped with their Consulting Services.  HCC has helped us build a great company/pharmacy and I am very much appreciative for their guidance as well, as we will continue to “lean” on HCC for future support!
Jim Grady

For the last 20 years we have used HCC for our staffing needs. They consistently deliver results by providing Pharmacy Technicians and Registered Pharmacists on the same day when we contact them. They provide a Valuable Service to our pharmacy.
Marcos Padron

“With all the complexity and regulatory requirements that is involved in owning and operating a pharmacy business I am glad that I can count on HCC for a wide variety of pharmacy services. It seems that they have someone who is an expert and extremely knowledgeable in anything that I have asked them for including PBM issues, licensing, compliance, audits, and of course staffing. They are extremely fair and reasonable in what they expect for their pharmacy services. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to start a pharmacy or an established pharmacy requiring a fresh look at their operation.”
Mike Garcia

I own a pharmacy in Houston, Texas.  I requested assistance from HCC in converting my community pharmacy to include non-sterile and sterile compounding.  HCC was my first and only call!  They provided a Pharmacist Consultant to not only provide onsite consulting, but to be available by phone and email throughout the process.  We were approved by the Texas Board of Pharmacy with flying colors!  HCC Pharmacy Staffing and Consulting is our only “go to” Pharmacy and Consulting firm.   I strongly recommend their services!
Carlos Rivera

The assistance help that HCC provided my Independent Pharmacy has been very helpful in allowing me to maintain staff during peak periods. They also are very professional in regards to their Consulting Services in keeping us aware of changes in the many state laws and in helping us to get licensed in various states. We would strongly recommend HCC to any pharmacy seeking assistance in staffing or licensing.
Greg Carter

In this busy world we rarely get the time to say thank you for your partnership and guidance during the recent growth in our company.  You have always been a phone call away for any of our needs.  Your team of experts has helped prepare us for new state licensures and accreditations.  We value the relationship that we have built both personally and professionally.  I strongly recommend anyone in the pharmacy business to add HCC to their list of partners to assist in day to day coverage to strategic growth planning.
Gregg Taboh

If you are a pharmacist looking for a new position (or simply looking for part time opportunities to earn more cash), we urge you to talk with us. With placement positions immediately available, contact us today online or call us at 800-642-1652 to get started.

If you are a pharmacy requiring temporary or permanent staffing help, HCC Pharmacy Staffing can assist you too. We have a professional staff who can find you the right pharmacist to match your needs, whether it be in a retail, hospital or a specialty pharmacy area.

Keep in mind that while specializing in pharmacy jobs, staffing and placement for over 27 years, HCC can help you with all your pharmacy needs. Some of our additional services include:
– Equipment needs assessment
– Medicaid/3rd party review
– Moving a pharmacy to a new location
– Out of state licensing
– Exit strategies
– Audit, surveys & mock inspections
– Expanding, redesigning and overhauling your pharmacy
– Compliance review for compounding pharmacies (USP 795 & 797)
– Policy & procedure review and recommendations

Contact us today online or call us at 800-642-1652 to get started with a free consultation.

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Medicare D Reform for Independent Retail Pharmacies

Medicare D Reform for Independent Retail Pharmacies:

Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) companies have become a major concern for the independent Pharmacy businesses and owners that we have as clients. We at HCC fully support independent retail Pharmacies and everyone can agree that they are a vital part of every community. However, some recent policies and rules generated by several PBMs are seen as a threat to the operation and survival of independent community Pharmacies throughout the country.

The PBM essentially acts as a third-party administrator (TPA) regarding prescription drug programs. These plans include Medicare Part D, as well as many commercial corporate health plans, self insured plans, and for many government employee plans (on both the State and Federal levels). According to APhA’s (The American Pharmacists Association) description: “PBMs are primarily responsible for developing and maintaining the formulary, contracting with pharmacies, negotiating discounts and rebates with drug manufacturers, and processing and paying prescription drug claims. For the most part, they work with self-insured companies and government programs striving to maintain or reduce the pharmacy expenditures of the plan while concurrently trying to improve health care outcomes.” It is estimated that nearly 300 million people in the United States are currently affected by a PBM managing their pharmacy benefits. It must also be noted that there are currently about two dozen existing “major” PBMs (although a total as high as 60 has been referenced several times), but that the 3 “Super PBMs” account for roughly 80% of the entire market  and have almost 200 million patients enrolled.
The 3 “Super PBMs” are:

1. Express Scripts
2. CVS Health (formerly CVS Caremark)
3. United Health (also referred to as OptumRx & Catamaran)

The intent of this post is not to build a case against PBMs, but to point out that perhaps some reform is necessary for independent community Pharmacies to be able to make a profit and continue to thrive in our communities. The intent of PBMs is to maximize the purchasing power for large groups of patients, resulting in a reduction in their prescription drug prices. This is accomplished through volume buying, pharmaceutical manufacturer rebates and pricing discounts at participating retail pharmacies and drug stores. So far no independent study has shown this to be happening. A study often cited by PBMs in 2015 by CVS claimed a reduction of 6.8% for its members, but so far this has not been independently substantiated. The fact that in 2015 there were seven lawsuits filed against PBMs (for antitrust violations, fraud and criminal negligence) has not helped the situation. Additionally, at a 2014 ERISA hearing (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) it was clearly pointed out that PBMs in many instances pose “conflicts of interest” regarding providing consumers reductions in their prescription drug spending.

Now a Pharmacist is taking some action by initiating a Medicare D Reform Petition. Jae K. Shin, the managing pharmacist of Jays Drug and director of Jays Diabetes Education Center in the greater Los Angeles is asking all Pharmacists to officially go on record and support his petition. Although his email in it’s entirety is too long to include, here are the foundation points that Mr. Shin provided:
*Please see where his entire email is posted.

1. PBM companies reimburse rate are extremely low, be reflected fair pharmacist dispensing fee.
2. Pharmacy dispensing fee should calculate by AWP, not Direct Price(partial items are not returnable and there are many medication need special care with cost)
3. Pharmacy does not need unreasonable accreditation or attestation.
4. PBM should not take any amount of fund from pharmacy account, such as Dir or other weird rank order.
5. PBM company should not treat differently with independent pharmacy, such as preferred plan which is no copay if they go their own chain pharmacy.
6. Pharmacy are no need accreditation for special drugs.
7. Pharmacy wants eliminate abusive pharmacy audit from PBM companies
8. Pharmacy want to return the high cost of old generic drugs which raise the price recent years.(one of old generic drug Colchicine 0.6mg was $5.00 for 100 tablet, not name changed same medication are $200.00 for 30 tablet.)
9. Pharmacy want to reform Medicare D plan more simple and better understanding module. The coverage should apply equally to individual recipient.
10. How pharmacy chain can have PBM company. (If chain pharmacy doesn’t own PBM company, then chain pharmacy fight for low reimbursement and also this PBM company no need to treat differently for their patient to go their own chain pharmacy.)
If you support this petition, Mr. Shin asks that you fill out the following information and send it to him via e-mail ( or fax it to him at (805) 388-5889. He also provided his phone number for contacting him: (323) 810-3360.

Name of Pharmacist:
Name of Pharmacy:
Telephone No:
Fax No:
E-mail address, if available:

As always, please contact us here at HCC if you have any questions regarding this. With over 27 years in the Pharmacy Consulting business, HCC can assist with expert advice in any area of your pharmacy business or practice. We urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultant specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all Pharmacy settings. Contact us online or call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.

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Pharmacy Home Delivery Services (Continued)

Pharmacy Home Delivery Services:

In a recent blog post we discussed the fact that Pharmacy Home Delivery services were on the rise nationally. We all know that Pharmacy Home Delivery is really not anything new, but has been a service primarily utilized by the major Pharmacy Mail Order Houses and several of the large Pharmacy Chains for well over a decade or more. As we always urge our clients to explore additional revenue streams for their business, the addition of Pharmacy Home Delivery services has been proven to be a “value added service” that has vastly increased customer retention, acquisition of new patients and led to increased profits.

In our recent post we alluded to a consumer survey that was conducted by the nationally renowned firm JD Powers on the subject of Pharmacy deliveries and how patients and customers viewed the trend. The survey showed that without a doubt the majority of consumers nationally viewed Pharmacy Home Delivery as a positive, plus overwhelmingly agreed that in the future this would be the norm for the industry. However, the JD Powers study also revealed what has kept many patients & consumers from utilizing Pharmacy Home Delivery Services at all (and prevented customers from using them more frequently). Consumer resistance to Pharmacy Home Delivery of their medications becoming the standard basically centered on three areas:

1. Patients stated clearly that they have justified fear regarding delivery dates. Most of the vendors were not local, but spread “far away” and basically shipping the patient’s medications and supplies from “out of the state”. This was backed up by the fact that studies have shown that up to 5% of deliveries nationally do not actually occur as scheduled. Add into the equation the fact that both FedEx and UPS are affected by the weather and seasonal considerations, and one can understand the hesitancy expressed by consumers. Especially those that are on medications that cannot have dosages missed. As we all sometimes joke, who really believes the date we get at the post office regarding deliveries around Christmas time?
2. Not only were the vendors located elsewhere and “out of state”, patients expressed fear that the vendors were “too large”. Many asked the same question: “Can you imagine trying to get an actual person on the phone to discuss a problem with or talk to?”. Many shared from previous personal experience that the mail order houses and major Pharmacy chains were too large and that as a customer they felt they were just another “number’ to them. In contrast, their local Pharmacy “promotes a personal touch” and treats them as neighbors and community members.
3. Only a local Pharmacy could respond quickly enough to certain situations that arise: providing such medications like antibiotics & pain killers quickly (as that they are obviously not things that you can wait on), plus making dosage adjustments in a timely manner which is critical in many instances. Tying into this is the fact that the local Pharmacists are familiar with the local physician community (which again is impossible for Mail Order houses and large chains which are centralized in various parts of the country or in some cases actually located in another country!).

The point to all of this is that the addition of Pharmacy Home Delivery services to YOUR Pharmacy business will lead to increased customer retention, acquisition of new patients and increased profits. BUT customers are informed and aware of the negatives. So HCC urges you to do it right! Call today and one of our experienced Pharmacy consultants will discuss how to overcome these challenges AND plan, execute and maintain a “First Class” Pharmacy Home Delivery Service for your patients and Pharmacy business!

Healthcare Consultants is a nationally renowned full service Pharmacy staffing and consulting firm that has been in business for over 27 years. Owned, managed and staffed by full-time in-house Pharmacists, HCC offers a full range of Pharmacy Consulting Services that other firms simply cannot offer. Contact us on line or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-1652 to discuss how we can help you.

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Pharmacy Consulting Services – HCC Is A Full Service Pharmacy Consulting Firm

HCC Is A Full Service Pharmacy Consulting Firm:

Healthcare Consultants is a leading national Pharmacy Consulting company offering expertise in all areas of pharmacy consulting. Known for being one of the nation’s leading pharmacy staffing companies for over two decades, Healthcare Consultants has been in the business of Pharmacy Consulting for over 25 years now. HCC is in the business of helping pharmacists establish, run, improve and make their businesses profitable. HCC is known nationally as one of the industry leaders in providing a full range of professional pharmacy consultation services to its vast array of clients. Owned and operated by pharmacists, Healthcare Consultants can provide proven expertise and experience in all facets of pharmacy operations, including retail, hospital and specialty pharmacy venues.

No matter what your pharmacy consulting needs may be, you can be assured that the experienced HCC staff has helped others with the same issues before. Let HCC and their expert team of pharmacy consultants help you solve your problems too! In today’s environment of a constantly changing landscape in the pharmacy business, let an experienced, proven Pharmacy Consulting company provide you with the assistance you may need. We have a professional full-time staff of pharmacy consultants with a proven track record in every area of pharmacy operations.

Just a few of the pharmacy consulting services that HCC offers include:

– Pharmacy Performance and Efficiency Enhancements
– Pharmacy Business Management Consulting
– Pharmacy Business Planning
– Pharmacy Start-up Consulting and Implementation
– Interim Pharmacy Management
– Policy and Procedure Development and Review
– Compliance Review
– Pharmacy Exit Strategies

If you have questions regarding virtually any area of your pharmacy business or practice, we urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultant specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all areas of your business. Call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.

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