Pet medication is now easier than ever to fill for your patients.
Have you ever wondered how you can get in on the 10 billion dollar pet medication industry? As a compounding pharmacy, I naturally filled the custom medications for vets. Those compounds, while profitable, are a small piece of the pie that exists for pet medications. Patients asked me frequently if I could fill the regular scripts for Fido or Fluffy. Of course, I wanted to (hello, cash!), but the barrier was consistently sourcing the products at a low cost. Unfortunately, 10+ years ago, I couldn’t find all the products all the time and could only sporadically fill my patients’ pets’ medications.
Times have changed.
I am always looking for ways to leverage my connections and DiversifyRx’s influence to help independent pharmacies. I came across a wonderful company, I wish I could have used it all those years ago. Animal Med Express is going to be your new best friend for all your patients’ best friends. We’ll talk more about them below.
One of the 6 Pillars of Pharmacy Profits is cash-based revenue. I love growing a business with no
blood-sucking middlemen PBMs. One where I can control my destiny. With cash-based revenue, you never have to lie awake at night worrying about an audit, DIR fees, or GER true-ups. Cash truly is king.
Let’s Play Imagination
Let’s play some imagination math to understand how big of an opportunity pet medications may be for your pharmacy.
If you fill 200 scripts a day, that could represent about 50 individuals. Those 50 people then make up about 25 households. And 67% of all households have a pet. So for your pharmacy, this means you have about 550 families, of which 369 have pets. Let’s go a little further. If half of those pets need a prescription, that equals over 180 CASH prescriptions, you could be filling every month. If you get a small $20 gross margin on those, you are now capturing an extra $3,600 in profit a month. That’s $43,000 a year!! All from your current patients.
How To Get Started
You will need to open an account with Animal Med Express. The easiest way to do that is to call them at 615-538-1424, or you can email them at email@example.com. They will ask for some basic information:
- Pharmacy name
- Address, phone, fax
- Contact person and email
- State BOP license
- How you heard about them (tell them DiversifyRx)
Once you have an account created, you can place all orders through their online portal at www.animalmedexpress.com. Animal Med Express carries a full line of prescription, OTC, and supplements for pets. Shipping on all orders over $300 is free or $13 if less than $300. That’s it. They are effortless to work with, and their staff will help you understand this new market you are venturing into.
While your local vets will have their favorites across the nation, these are the top movers for pet medications:
- Carprovet – Generic Rimadyl
- Heartgard Plus
Once you are ready to order pet medications, you need to let your community know you can now fill every family member.
Your first instinct might be to market to veterinarians; however, that is not the best course of action. Vets currently fill about 75% of all pet medications, and a majority of their profit comes from these prescriptions. You will now become their competition. I think the best strategy is to go after the pet owners directly. Many pet owners don’t even know they can request their pet medications be called into a pharmacy rather than having the vet dispense them. Now it is your job to educate them.
I think the first place to start and to concentrate all your budget and time is with Facebook. You can easily target the perfect demographic. Facebook targeting will help you use your budget efficiently by targeting where they live and if they have any pets. Animal photos always get lots of engagement, so be sure to use some in your ads.
Pet Photo Contest
Hold a pet photo contest with your community. Offer up a fantastic prize and get people to submit their pet’s photo for a chance to win. This contest will definitely help you grow your email and texting lists that you can later market to. Don’t just do it once! Have a new competition each month or quarter. Holidays are a perfect time as well. Be sure to include pets if you take pictures with Santa.
Pet Food Drives
I am a big believer in community-based marketing strategies, aka Guerilla Marketing. Every year, my pharmacy always worked with several local charities to help them drive additional donations and get out into the community. These included coat drives, canned food drives, or Christmas gifts. Once I was focusing on pet medications, I decided to help with pet food drives too. Local animal shelters, Meals on Wheels, or other charities that help the poor, are often in need of pet food donations.
When someone would donate pet food, we always asked for a picture of them and the donation and simple contact information. We then gave them lots of thanks and handed out a bounce-back coupon. A bounce-back coupon is a coupon that is good on the next visit, so they have to come back to your pharmacy. Lastly, we always asked where they were getting their own or their pets’ medications filled. Our job was to let them know we could dispense those medications.
Many of our patients would bring their animals inside the pharmacy when they were picking up medications. We learned to always have some treats by the register to give out. Just like with a child, always ask permission before giving out any goodie. This small action let pet owners know they were welcome and loved at the pharmacy.
You will need to update your website to include lots of information about pet medication and how you can help pet owners. For most pharmacies, it will be a good idea to get some professional SEO help to ensure that you are on top of the list when someone searches for pet medication or a pet pharmacy in your city.
Other Social Media
In addition to Facebook, make sure you place posts and photos on Google My Business. Also, pet photos or contests are great to share on Instagram as well. Be sure to look for any pet groups on Facebook or private websites. Partnering and supporting these groups can generate a lot of future patients.
You don’t have to invest a lot of time or money to get started with dispensing pet medications. You can quickly start by talking to your current patients. Ask them if they have pets that get medications and, if so, which ones. Bag stuffers are a highly effective and low-cost method to get the word out to all of your patients. There is no need to order a bunch of inventory and let it sit there. You can either order on-demand as prescriptions come in or talk with Animal Med Express about the best initial order for your pharmacy. Don’t let this excellent opportunity to grow cash-based revenue pass you by.