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5 Challenges of Running an Independent Pharmacy

Mohammad Khan Yusufzai is Masters in Management, specializing in Economics, Finance and Marketing, with corporate & lectureship exp.


Owning an independent pharmacy is quite difficult and demanding. Equip your pharmacy with online automation software such as, to effortlessly manage your accounting and payment-related needs.

Pharmacies are finding themselves in a new domain as healthcare goes digital. Trends like personalized care, wellness, and transparent pricing are becoming more prominent.

For growing your pharma company (or business) it’s necessary to identify key challenges and underlying opportunities for the pharmaceuticals.

Here are the 5 problems that an independent pharmacy is most likely to face:

Upgrading Your Pharmacy Online


The U.S. online pharmacy market is likely to cross USD 132 billion by 2026. Consumers are showing a preference towards them. Customers are doing thorough research before making any buying decision. They compare prices everywhere before placing any order.

Physical pharmacies are struggling to keep up with the low prices provided by the online pharmacies.

Staying up-to-date is crucial for pharmacies to compete in the digital world. However, most small pharmacies don’t have the resources to implement new technologies and offerings.

To have a digital presence of your pharmacy, make sure you have a mobile-friendly website for your pharmacy. You can even step up a game and get a mobile application for your pharmaceuticals.

You can easily do target marketing with an app. Moreover, your pharmacy can provide other services such as health checkups and appointment booking by tying up with other local service providers.

If getting a website or an app is not feasible for you, at least make sure your pharmacy is listed on Google's local business directory.

Another thing to implement is a software solution for various functions you have to perform as a pharmacy owner. Get dedicated software for pharmacies such as, which can handle accounting, check to print, invoicing, payroll management, payment management, and a lot more.

Reducing Leads Due to Covid-19


The unemployment rate in the US is significantly more. And with “the Great Resignation” going on, workers are voluntarily resigning en masse.

What this means for your pharmacy is that millions of employees are without employer-provided medical insurance. More people now have to bear the entirety of healthcare costs. This is making them opt-out of routine and emergency visits because of the rising financial pressure.

The trickle-down effect of all this is a very low number of leads and references from insurance providers and doctors.

What you should do is try to be more empathetic and thoughtful. Develop a marketing plan that resonates with your customers. For instance:

  • You can provide COVID protection kits for stay-at-home parents, employees working from homes, and frontline workers.
  • You can also advertise yourself as Pharmacy 24 hours online to show that you are committed to serving clients during an emergency.
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This will position your pharmacy as a thoughtful business and raise your goodwill.

Pharmacy Inventory Management


Efficient management of medication inventory is a challenge for all pharmacies. Yet it is the crux of every successful pharmacy operation. Keeping strong control of stock levels has a major impact on the overall cost and profitability.

Tracking is essential for proper inventory management. You need to keep commonly used as well as vital medications available.

On the other hand, you have to ensure that addictive and harmful medications are not subject to abuse, theft, or misuse.

As with most businesses, running out of stock results in loss of sales and profitability. But in the case of pharmacies, especially pharmacies associated with hospitals, the outcome can be :

a medical emergency, prolonged sickness, and even loss of life.

That’s why it is so necessary to ensure that your records correctly match your physical inventory. Whatever changes happen in physical inventory, they must be updated with your records quickly and promptly.

You also need to keep track of the expiration date. A single sale of expired item, even an accidental one, can result in a lawsuit for your pharmacy.

Building and Maintaining a Patient Base


What do patients look for in a pharmacy?

The simplest answer is that they want an easy, effortless experience that provides a quick but satisfactory solution to their problem.

That is why online pharmaceutical businesses are witnessing such a high growth rate. Likewise, digitalizing pharmacy, or adopting digital tools and platforms is so vital for the future of your pharmacy.

The first step is attracting online audiences with a digital marketing strategy that includes a website, online reviews, and social media presence.

Secondly, try introducing a mobile app or website with a contact number and location to maximize efficiency and offer patients a convenient, seamless experience.

Declining Cash Flow and Profit Margins


Pandemic, increased taxes, employment level, and tough competition are all wreaking havoc on the small pharmacies' cash flow.

For retail pharmacies in particular, the risk of losing potential revenue is an all-time high.

Independent pharmacies need to build services and products around patients’ needs and their desire for a seamless experience.

Consider taking an outsiders’ look at your business to see how you can position your pharmacy for extra revenue and services.

Give your customers combos!

Tie up with a local diagnostic center and provide family health check-up packages. Have different kits ready that you can give to different target customers. Such as for skincare kits, hair care product combos, baby care products, etc.

All this essentially means arranging your store based on the most-used health products and services. Your target is to fulfill the customer's demand in the best way.


Even though pharmacy is an essential element in today’s healthcare infrastructure, running an independent pharmacy in the US comes with unique challenges of its own.

The above challenges are the most common ones that pharmacies in the United States face. But as they say, "Every challenge comes with an opportunity".

Make sure you identify and capitalize on the opportunities to grow your business.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Mohammad Khan Yusufzai

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