Being in the community pharmacy for over a decade, I still face the same challenge a decade ago. Besides providing good customer service, being able to offer a better price is the key to survive in the business. Most of the time I am forced to consider the later. A pharmacist not only has to be a professional health provider but has been led unwittingly to become a “bargain hunter”. However, even though if you try to be a good “bargain hunter”, it does not mean you will win in the end. Once you stocked up all the bargain price goods, it does not guarantee that all your stocks will be sold before they expire.
What is the root of the problem? The pharmaceutical companies offer very good and attractive bonusing schemes. If you don’t take the offer, you lost out because your competitors are able just to take the biggest lot of stock. For instance, Physiogel cream 75ml, >10 tubes is $33.50, 10 bottles the cost is $44.80. But then, recently this Physiogel lotion and cream were available at runner-trade, cream price is $35.00 and lotion price is $44.00 for any quantity purchased. When I informed the Stiefel medical sale representative that runner could offer these prices and whether his company was offering a better and more attractive bonus to doctors or clinics? The rep could not answer my question. Apparently what his colleague had been promoting and offering to clinics and doctors were not disclosed to him. This has created a dilemma for him because he hardly has purchases from the pharmacies (RPHs) for this product. This unfair bonusing scheme between clinics and RPHs has not only created problems among RPHs but also among their own company sales staffs.
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