The Best Way to Assess Pharmacy Cost Isn’t Always Finding the Lowest Price

With a smarter purchasing strategy, your pharmacy can lower pharmacy cost, sustain profitability and uphold the best levels of patient care.

The Best Way to Assess Pharmacy Cost Isn’t Always Finding the Lowest Price
Danielle Dinglasan

Danielle Dinglasan

Product Marketing Manager at SureCost

It takes considerable effort to maintain profitability while delivering first-rate patient care in the fast-paced world of pharmacy. The problems faced by pharmacy professionals are numerous, ranging from escalating operating expenses to negotiating the constantly shifting regulatory environment. 

The perception that continually pursuing the lowest price is the best option is the biggest obstacle of all. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the most important findings from our in-depth white paper, highlighting the difficulties that pharmacies face in the current market, the reasons why the cheapest price isn’t always the best value and how SureCost equips pharmacies to meet these difficulties and adjust for maximum savings. 

The Challenges of Pharmacy Purchasing

Rising Operational Costs

Operational costs are continually rising in the environment that pharmacies operate in. These expenditures include a wide range of expenses, including rising drug pricing and the cost of maintaining appropriate storage conditions for temperature-sensitive medicine. 

In 2021, overall pharmaceutical expenditures in the US grew 7.7% compared to 2020, for a total of $576.9 billion. Utilization (a 4.8% increase), price (a 1.9% increase) and new drugs (a 1.1% increase) drove this increase.1

As our white paper demonstrates, these increasing expenditures can have a major negative impact on a pharmacy’s bottom line. To sustain profitability and uphold the best levels of patient care, it’s necessary to constantly look for cost-effective ways.

Impact of DIR fees

Aside from increased operating expenses, pharmacists must contend with the complicated environment of Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) fees, which have risen in recent years, increasingly having an influence on pharmacies’ profit margins. Furthermore, a future shift anticipated for January 2024 exacerbates the scenario by imposing additional fees that pharmacies must quickly adjust to. To succeed in this volatile climate, pharmacies need a strong pharmacy buying and inventory management system like SureCost, to help maximize savings for the impending changes.

Perceived Pitfall of the Lowest Price

The belief that the lowest purchase price guarantees the best value is a common misconception in pharmacy purchasing. Relying solely on price can lead to various challenges and missed opportunities for pharmacies. This approach often neglects crucial factors like rebates, compliance with vendor agreements and operational efficiency, potentially causing pharmacies to miss substantial rebate opportunities and risking non-compliance. Vendor price discrepancies, unsuitable substitutions and errors in received goods’ value can lead to losses. To overcome this pitfall, pharmacies must adopt data-driven purchasing. To thrive amid rising operational costs and DIR fees, pharmacies should implement smarter purchasing practices.

5 Essential Pharmacy Purchasing Strategies

1. Primary Vendor Compliance

It’s critical to ensure that primary vendor agreements are followed. Pharmacies should avoid costly fines and maximize their advantages by examining and understanding vendor agreements, defining key compliance indicators and tracking vendor non-compliance. 

2. Maximizing Rebates

Rebates are important for pharmacy profitability. Pharmacies should aggressively track and negotiate vendor rebates to ensure they obtain the maximum advantages. 

3. Ensure Purchasing Compliance with Automation

Pharmacy automation systems, such as SureCost, automate the purchasing process, increasing efficiency and accuracy. Pharmacies may make educated purchase decisions and improve their purchasing by automating order placement, tracking compliance and monitoring pricing fluctuations. 

4. Adapting to Changes Using Data-Driven Insights

Data-driven insights help pharmacies to respond to these changes, enhance product selection, maintain compliance and improve inventory management. Pharmacies may adjust in real-time by monitoring product demand, turnover rates and supplier performance. By ensuring that patients receive their drugs as soon as possible, this not only avoids overstocking and understocking, but also improves customer satisfaction.

5. Improving Customer Care and Efficiency

It’s critical to prioritize customer service while simplifying purchasing processes. By automating mundane operations and streamlining buying, pharmacies may free up more time to focus on patient care, resulting in greater patient-pharmacist interactions. 

Empowering Pharmacies with SureCost

SureCost transforms pharmacy procurement and inventory management by providing an integrated platform that simplifies operations and boosts savings. With SureCost, pharmacies streamline vendor management, removing the complexity of managing multiple platforms or catalogs. 

What sets SureCost apart is its ability to offer accurate and transparent costs, including rebates, ensuring informed decision-making. It diligently identifies discrepancies between GPO contract pricing and vendor rates, safeguarding against overpayments. The platform also suggests formulary-recommended items that align with a pharmacy’s specific purchasing rules and configurations, optimizing procurement. 

SureCost streamlines the purchasing process, allowing pharmacies to place orders quickly and accurately. Automation is a key component, with SureCost automating replenishment orders based on historical data and demand forecasts, minimizing backorders and excess inventory. 

SureCost excels at uncovering hidden savings opportunities. It identifies items on purchase orders that deviate from the recommended formulary, maintaining compliance. Even automated item substitutions adhere to the pharmacy’s purchasing guidelines. 

SureCost enables pharmacies to make smarter purchasing decisions and improved operations to focus on delivering great patient care in a continuously changing pharmacy industry. We welcome you to watch our webinar, “Best Cost Isn’t Always the Lowest Cost: How to Drive Strategic Purchasing Decisions,” to go further in these ideas and examine real-world situations. 

Discover how SureCost can revolutionize your pharmacy’s purchasing strategy, increase profitability and assure industry compliance. Don’t pass up the change to thrive in today’s competitive pharmacy industry. Now is the time to watch the webinar and take the first step toward a more successful future. 

If you’d like to discover the best purchasing options for your pharmacy, contact us today.


1. Tichy, E. (2022, July). National trends in prescription drug expenditures and projections for 2022. NIH.

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