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April 24: Independent Pharmacies Feel Financial Pressure Due to Pandemic

Posted on in Industry Updates by Amplicare Team

Plus, the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know this week.

The Story

Independent pharmacies are experiencing financial pressure due to the ongoing pandemic, according to a new NCPA survey. Eighty-eight percent of respondents say they plan to apply for federal aid set aside for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Why It Matters

The NCPA surveyed 511 independent pharmacy owners and managers across the country between April 9 and April 14. According to the results, 35% of community pharmacy owners rated the financial health of their businesses as “somewhat poor.” Thirteen percent indicated that their financial health was “very poor” while 29% said it was “average.” Only 6% reported their finances as “very good.”

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Cash flow due to the health crisis was one of the challenges cited by 9% of pharmacists. Pharmacies have stayed open as non-essential businesses have been forced to close across the country. However, many have moved to delivery, drive-thru, and curbside pickup services only, limiting foot traffic. But a majority of pharmacies are concerned about other business-related issues, including DIR fees (52%), decreasing reimbursements not connected to DIRs (26%), and PBM consolidation and vertical integration (7%). Another NCPA survey also noted that nearly 90% of community pharmacies have experienced drug shortages since March 1.

With businesses across the country feeling the economic strain, federal aid such as the Paycheck Protection Program seem to be running out of funds as quickly as they are approved. In a press release, NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey called on the federal government to make additional funds available to help pharmacies stay afloat. Pharmacies have played an essential role in fighting the pandemic, supplying medications, compounding hand sanitizers, and testing for COVID-19, among other things. 

Other important news to know:

1. The FDA issued emergency use authorization for a new at-home COVID-19 test. CNN.

2. Pharmacy reimbursements for generic drugs grew with price hikes 16% of the time. Becker’s Hospital Review.

3. Prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications spiked as COVID-19 spread. WREG.

4. A new study suggests no benefit from treating coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine. Associated Press.

5. Consumer impressions of healthcare workers and pharma companies is up. FiercePharma.

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