Managing a Pharmacy: A Quick Inventory Management Guide
Inventory is the largest expense at a pharmacy, so how it is managed is vital to the success of the business. Here are a few tips on how to manage your pharmacy inventory effectively.
1. Be aware of what you have.
Most pharmacists are indeed well aware of what inventory they have. But doing a physical check of inventory once or twice a year will enable you to calibrate your orders to your needs better, keep your products fresh, and find out if there has been any shrinkage.
You can train a worker to take care of this task to ensure your records match what you actually have.
2. Keep track of the inventory system
The computerized inventory systems at pharmacies usually order new products as they are sold to make sure the supply remains steady. This helps save a lot of time for staff in managing what they have on hand. But even so, some tweaks and adjustments are needed occasionally.
For example, physicians may not prescribe as much of a particular brand-name drug if a generic replacement has been developed. The popularity of different supplements may also rise and fall as the tastes of the public change. Comparing inventory with present demand will enable the pharmacy to have enough of what is popular at the moment and also ensure that you don’t have a surplus of products that are declining in popularity.
3. Manage expensive medications
You should try to keep the supply of expensive drugs as low as possible to hold down expenses. For example, one hepatitis C drug can cost as much as $30,000, so even having the drug on hand can raise your costs dramatically.
You can minimize the supply of these types of drugs by using next-day delivery from distributors and working with patients to manage refills.
4. Keep enough popular items in stock
Make sure you have enough high-demand over-the-counter medications in stock. These items tend to move more quickly, so you need to manage them accordingly.
5. Watch expiration dates.
For most items, you don’t want more than about one week’s supply on hand so that they don’t expire. You should assign a worker the task of keeping track of items that are nearing their expiration date so that they don’t fall through the cracks and end up costing you money.
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