Extending pharmaceutical services increases both health care and profits

Compared to many other health professions, pharmacists have both professional and business goals. The majority of Canadian pharmacies are located in communities rather than hospitals and sell retail products, such as cosmetics and food, alongside filling prescriptions.

In spite of their dual professional and business responsibilities, studies indicate that pharmacy managers demonstrate professionalism and that the retail environment does not compromise their ability to serve their patients.

Regulatory changes

Recent changes in regulations have allowed Canada’s pharmacists to expand their range of professional services and play a more active role as health care providers. Depending on Canada’s province or territory, pharmacists can adapt prescriptions, provide flu shots, and request and interpret laboratory results.

A pharmacy’s decision to offer expanded services depends on its location, organizational strategy and capacity. Although there are varying degrees of legislation, 81% of Canadian pharmacies have expanded their range of services.

Results of expanded service offerings

In analyzing data from 259 retail pharmacies in Western Canada, it was found that entrepreneurial pharmacies were most likely to be involved in the development of the range of services offered. Entrepreneurial pharmacies are those that describe themselves as actively innovative, willing to take some business risk and make proactive business decisions.

The development of new services has been shown to lead to positive health outcomes for patients: improved quality of care, patient knowledge of prescriptions and reduced prescription errors, according to pharmacy owners or managers. 

In combination with the positive patient health outcomes, pharmacies reported better revenue levels, higher margins and profits than the previous year.