Amazon’s PillPack Acquisition: Your Questions Answered

Amazon has hit the headlines again. This time, it’s because the company has shaken up the drugstore business with its recent acquisition of PillPack.

We know PillPack’s acquisition last month has led to many unanswered questions. That’s why we asked Matt Noffsinger, SVP of business development for TCGRx, five questions about the issue. See what he has to say about what this acquisition means for independent pharmacies and what they should do as a result.

Q1: What does the recent PillPack acquisition mean for independent pharmacy?

A: The spotlight on the PillPack acquisition is raising awareness across the pharmacy market, which we perceive as a good thing for independent pharmacies.

The independents have always been early adopters and more flexible to address changing market needs. Many of our independent partners have been offering adherence packaging for many years and growing their businesses with it. What’s interesting is the various areas that have been targeted for adherence. Pharmacies are providing specialty medications, servicing assisted and independent living facilities, and working with traditional retail patients.

The market awareness created by Amazon and PillPack provides an opportunity for the independents to leverage their ability to react quickly to capture market share.

Q2: What can independent pharmacies do tomorrow to respond to this recent acquisition?

A: Pharmacies should look first at their core strengths and put together a plan. They need a plan to retain current patients and to add new patients. They should put this plan together while taking into consideration unique opportunities, such as seeking new business from a nearby independent living facility.

Pharmacies then need to bring in technology to help them capture and scale their patient onboarding. There are options for multidose cards and for adherence pouches, and the solutions can be very affordable, depending on the budget and business planning of a pharmacy.

Q3: What type of medication adherence packaging would be best for my pharmacy and patients?

A: Know what your market is. Every pharmacy caters to a different population and will need a different packaging technique. For example, a more acute patient population may warrant a shorter cycle fill versus a program of 30 day fills. In an assisted living facility, patients and employees may benefit more from a standard 30 day multidose program.

Q4: What are some other factors that should be considered when selecting a medication adherence packaging solution?

A: Invest in products with a goal for your pharmacy in mind. The main question you have to ask yourself as a pharmacy is where your business is going to be in three,five, 10 years. Invest and promote a product that is easily scaled to the volume you want to get to.

Q5: Do you have any advice on overcoming some of the potential challenges of implementing an adherence packaging solution?

A: With medication synchronization and adherence packaging systems, pharmacies need to be prepared to handle hours of administration through an interface. This being said, it is recommended to check with your current pharmacy system provider and open a discussion.

TCGRx offers a variety of technologies and products that can adapt to each pharmacy’s specific goals, needs, and patient populations.

To sum it all up, Noffsinger said independent pharmacies can react to the PillPack acquisition by continuing to innovate and expand in their markets.

“Independents are incredible innovators,” he said. “They are doing things so uniquely and expanding quickly in each of their niche markets. Independent pharmacies are able to quickly adapt to changes — something that larger chains do not have the flexibility to do. The iron is hot right now for independents to promote that they are able to do what PillPack can do and more.”

TCGRx also provides solutions to some of the inevitable challenges associated with implementing an adherence packaging offering. TCGRx has software that helps connect certain operating systems and applications, making it easier for pharmacies to launch adherence packaging programs.

To learn more about how TCGRx can help you successfully implement an adherence packaging program, get in touch via email. A member of the TCGRx team will respond to you shortly.