Letter to Veterinary Economics: Combat falling drug revenue with these practical tips


One practitioner shares his thoughts on how to handle the smaller portion of income his his veterinary practice's pharmacy generates.

In reference to “Has your pharmacy taken a hit in sales?” (August 2015), I've had drugs as 23 percent of my revenue at my practice in Wisconsin, but I see this decreasing monthly.

The pressure is great and requires my attention daily for requests like, “Can't I just pick up some medicine at ---mart?”

Worse are clients who just want another round of medicine for their pet that “has the same symptoms they had six months ago.” They don't want another office visit. And clients get angry if you say no. Here is what we are doing to help but it is by no means enough:

> First, if at all possible, I use medication that is approved for dogs and cats, such as Biomox instead of Amoxicillin, which is for humans.

> All medical records show the number of refills the doctor allows (this may be law in my state).

> I've cut my percentage markup to compete with commonly prescribed medicine.

> On all prescriptions I write, “No substitutions” and “For animal use.”

> Every prescription that leaves my clinic comes with an “About this medication and warning” handout that my computer drug program provides.

> I insist on monitoring blood work for all patients on long term medication. I also try to bundle the cost of the lab work with medication from my clinic as one price.

> I've increased my exam fee to recoup some of the income.

> I no longer fax prescriptions because often the fax is not received at the “---marts” and the pet owner gets mad when their medicine is not ready when they arrive. Sometimes we'd fax the prescription three or four times without success to some human pharmacies.

I have not been totally successful in my approach, but this is a start.

Robert Pope, DVM

Mosinee Veterinary Clinic

Mosinee, Wisconsin 

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