Abrafarma Future Trends conference welcomes DSN
SAO PAOLO — Drug Store News editor Rob Eder delivered the keynote address at the Brazilian Association of Pharmacies and Drugstore Networks — otherwise known as Abrafarma — at the group’s second annual Abrafarma Future Trends conference, here in Sao Paolo, Sept. 8. Eder discussed the transformation of the U.S. pharmacy market over the last two decades, and the evolution from volume to value in pharmacy services.
Two things about this issue
Our own senior editor Michael Johnsen has become somewhat famous among the Drug Store News editorial team for his “two-thing” commentaries on just about any subject.
This month, as we close this issue of DSN, I find myself with “two things” worth noting.
First, a word about the cover:
By now, you have probably seen some variation of the DirecTV “Don’t be like this … ” commercials that mock the fictional alter-egos of actor Rob Lowe, and more recently a handful of NFL quarterbacks. My personal favorite is “bad comedian” Eli Manning.
Because of the many different ways that the pharmacists we profile in this issue are improving their patients’ lives and advancing the profession of pharmacy, we thought the best way to illustrate who they are, was to show you who they are not.
Second, a word about my trip to Brazil:
The trip made me realize that the challenges and opportunities — and the solutions — that face community pharmacy are really the same all over the world. An October report from the International Pharmaceutical Federation points to at least two strong indicators that I am right: pharmacy reimbursement rates are a problem in 49 countries across the globe, and a growing number of these countries is responding — or has responded — by advancing the role of the community pharmacist (40%), or creating a framework to do so (almost 60%).
Topeka Pharmacy is community’s service center
Tom and Morag Miller
Define “American heartland” and the town of Topeka, Ind., could easily fit the bill. And independently owned Topeka Pharmacy, honored as Good Neighbor Pharmacy of the Year at AmerisourceBergen’s ThoughtSpot 2015, could just as easily define the concept of drug store as an indispensible fixture of small-town life.
Located appropriately on Main Street in the center of this one-stoplight town, Topeka Pharmacy thrives not only by meeting a wide range of health and household needs for a strictly traditional rural market, but by serving as a center and gathering place for the local community.
That community, comprising about 1,000 households in town and in the surrounding farms, is nearly 60% Amish or Mennonite, making it “a quieter, gentler, kinder place,” said Morag Miller, who together with her husband Tom runs Topeka Pharmacy.
In business since 1988, the store tailors its services and product mix to local needs and customs, while staying abreast of healthcare advances with clinical services and the latest mobile technologies. Topeka Pharmacy sells Amish bonnets and baby clothes, and also offers Amish-made products. Among its other offerings are giftware; fresh flowers; a department called “Sara’s Attic” featuring fabrics, notions and Amish-made quilts; and an old-fashioned soda fountain called Crossroads Café that serves Amish cooking.
But Topeka Pharmacy’s central purpose, said owner Tom Miller, remains health and wellness. To that end, Topeka offers programs in such areas as diabetes education taught by a certified diabetes educator, weight management classes and more.
“The keys to our success are the connection to the community and the outcomes we try to give our patients every day,” Miller said. “This outcome can also be a Good Neighbor Pharmacy product … [or] a place to have lunch; a place to come and talk to people; a meeting place.”
“We are the service center of the community,” Topeka’s owner-operator added. “And with our Amish population at nearly 60%, that’s important, because otherwise they literally have to hire a driver to take them somewhere else. So if we can be their one-stop shop, it works for the Amish particularly well, and it works for the English. And they all listen to us for their information. We’ve tried to carefully nurture that over the years.”
Miller called the resources provided by AmerisourceBergen “vast, and it multiplies our ability to be good to our patients and make those outcomes positive.”
In addition, he said, “The Good Neighbor Pharmacy logo is starting to get recognized nationally. That’s good for us. It sets us apart from everybody else. It gives us an identity that [customers] don’t get anyplace else.”
Coming up for Topeka Pharmacy, said its owner, is an increasing commitment to a higher level of healthcare delivery and more aggressive efforts to work with payers to establish standard reimbursement for its services on behalf of healthier patients. “Next for Topeka Pharmacy is getting paid for those outcomes,” Miller said. “We’ve hired a medication therapist pharmacist … [and] a certified dietitian. We do [diabetic] shoe fittings. And we’re working on the next step — whether that [is] coagulation therapy, blood pressure intervention, or whatever it is — to become that provider.”
“As we lose doctors in our country, these patients have to turn to somebody, … and they have to go somewhere,” Miller added. “We would like to be the answer to that.”