5 Common Pharmacy Inventory Management Pitfalls

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Sep 9, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Warning! Pharmacy Inventory Management Pitfalls can be easily avoided with some inventory best practices.


Inventory management is an important aspect of your pharmacy business. It is tied directly with your profit margins through the amount of money you spend on medications and the revenue coming into your pharmacy through co-pays and cash payments. To keep on top of your profitability, the  amount of stock recorded in your pharmacy software needs to be in line with what you have available on your shelves.

Correctly managing your pharmacy inventory can help you avoid over and under ordering.  If you have too much of an item in stock, it may expire before you’re able to sell it all, wasting your space and money. Processing a prescription to find out you don’t have that item in stock, despite what pharmacy your management software has recorded, is an unpleasant surprise.  This can hinder customer satisfaction with your business as well, if not corrected.

5 Common Pharmacy Inventory Management Pitfalls

To help you know what to look for when your on-shelf count isn't matching up with your virtual inventory, we've gathered  5 common pitfalls to keep in mind when surveying your pharmacy inventory.

Manually Editing On-Hand Amounts

If you notice that the amount of a certain prescription recorded in your pharmacy system does not match what you actually have in stock, wait to change the amount. First, take the time to identify why the numbers don’t match. It’s likely that the inaccuracy can be easily accounted for. Here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to locate missing inventory.

  • Is a member of your staff currently dispensing this drug? The drug could be sitting out on the counter. This may seem like a simple solution, but it occurs on many occasions that we are in such a hurry to fix a problem that we create a larger one by not taking the time to find the right solution.
  • Did you or another employee loan this drug out to another store? The missing quantity could have been loaned out to another store without being recorded. If you didn't loan out the medication, ask your staff to make sure none of them did before manually editing the amount.


Unmanaged Will-Call Bins

Will-call bin management is an inportant aspect of pharmacy inventory management

You may have inventory in will-call bins that was never picked up. If the prescription was denied by the patient or never picked up, it's possible that a member of your staff could've reversed the fill in the software but left the medication in a bin. It is important to manage your bins, call patients that haven’t picked up their prescriptions in a timely manner, remove prescriptions that are not likely to be picked up, and restock that item.


Rejected Insurance Claims 

If a rejected insurance claim is not dealt with, your management software may still register the prescription as being filled. This will remove the count from your virtual inventory, leaving you with an overage on the shelf. To combat this problem, put all rejected prescriptions on hold until they have been dealt with.


IOU Prescriptions

Owed prescriptions are much like prescriptions left in will-call bins. When you fill the prescription it is removed from your virtual inventory. If the patient does not return for their owed amount, you will be left with more inventory than your management software has recorded. It is important to review these prescriptions and return owed amounts back to inventory, if they are not picked up.


Shorts and Substitutions

Proper ordering and receiving practices play a key role in pharmacy inventory management.

Sometimes, you don’t always get exactly what you ordered from your wholesaler. An error may have occurred that leaves you missing part of your order, or a substitution for a generic drug may have been made. If your pharmacy software is set to add ordered stock to inventory automatically, shorts and substitutions will cause an imbalance in your pharmacy inventory. You should always compare what you ordered to the EDI order form received from your drug wholesaler to identify any inconsistencies and correct those before importing your order. 


Moving Forward with Your Inventory Management

Unfortunately, no matter how carefully planned your pharmacy inventory management techniques are, you're going to run across inconsistencies. However, being aware of these common areas for improvement can help you save time when inconsistencies are found and money trying to fix the problem, giving you the resources you need to work on your business and not just in it. 

WinRx comes standard with many inventory management tools to ensure that your pharmacy is well equipped whether you dispense one her prescriptions a day or one thousand. 

WinRx Pharmacy Management Software