Evaluating your packaging strategy

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Rich McKeon
Rich McKeon

The Federal Drug Quality & Cosmetic Act*, which went into effect Wednesday, November 27, now enables Florida pharmacies to use third-party repackagers. In order to thrive in this dynamic market, pharmacies — whether they operate in Florida or not — should proactively analyze and adapt their packaging strategy to improve profitability and maintain efficiencies. This article outlines three key market drivers identified by the McKesson Alternate Site Pharmacy Team that pharmacies should consider as they evaluate internal and third-party repackaging options:**

Reduce costs

With third-party repackaging, alternate site pharmacies can meet customer demands and grow their business without added investment in new equipment. By using an external repackager, sites can eliminate upfront capital investment and convert inefficient fixed costs into variable costs, making them better equipped to support the needs of current and new customers. We partner with Safecor Health to deliver a comprehensive third party repackaging solution tailored to the customer's needs. In addition to preferred program pricing, customers capture operational, quality, supply chain, and financial advantages by their participation in the integration program.

Optimize staff time

Amidst reimbursement and cost pressure, some alternate site pharmacies are outsourcing the packaging of low-cost, low margin products that previously required in-house labor. This enables staff to focus on other critical areas of business such as medical record maintenance, utilization review, inventory management, and more complicated medication preparation. According to a vice president of a leading LTC pharmacy in the Northwest, “we prefer our staff to focus on high-value activities. It's hard to justify having a skilled technician repackaging a low-cost, low-margin pill.”

Ensure consistent product quality and safety

Given recent complications in compounding and quality of product, pharmacies today are under increased scrutiny. Making decisions to outsource nonsterile packaging to a reputable, trusted partner frees up internal resources to address sterile packaging needs. The complexity of repackaging requires understanding the unique requirements of hospitals and long-term care pharmacies. Choosing a repackaging partner with the experience and dedication to deliver a quality service with redundant levels of verification and quality control, is critical to comply with FDA and state regulations, as well as ensure a high level of quality product for customers.

The past few years in the pharmacy business have been increasingly challenging. Drug shortages, reimbursement challenges and quality issues have all created a resource challenge for alternate site pharmacies. Outsourcing of the non-sterile packaging burden can be a valuable alternative and can provide a resource pool inside the pharmacy to address sterile compounding challenges.

* The article has been updated to reflect the name of the law in question. The original version of this article referred to the "Florida Drug & Cosmetic Act."

** The information provided here is for reference use only and does not constitute the rendering of legal or other professional advice by McKesson. Readers should consult appropriate professionals for advice and assistance prior to making important decisions regarding their business. McKesson is not advocating any particular program or approach herein.  McKesson is not responsible for, nor will it bear any liability for the content provided herein.

Rich McKeon is vice president at McKesson Alternate Site Pharmacy. For more information on the McKesson Safecor partnership or other solutions, email alternatesite@mckesson.com or visit us at www.McKessonAlternateSiteRx.com

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