Stephanie Saxon has a message all retail pharmacies, and their staff, need to hear.
“The hard truth is that the pharmacy across the street offers the same products and the pharmacists working there can each do the same job as you,” she said.
“The only way you can consistently win the repeat business of your patients - and keep your job - is to develop genuine relationships with your customers built on trust, care and assuming responsibility for their health.”
Over her 22-year career, Ms. Saxon used FLAVORx to help her earn a 90% prescription refill rate while working for some of the biggest names in the retail pharmacy industry like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.
A Sweet Solution to an Old Industry Problem
Ms. Saxon said the key to increasing her customer’s medication compliance - and driving sales - was to open a dialogue.
“As a technician, it was clear to me which patients weren’t complying with their medication,” she said.
So she asked her patients why they failed to take their medicine as prescribed. Often the younger patients or their parents would explain the medicine’s lousy taste prevented them from complying. That’s when she realized flavored medicine could be the solution.
“The pharmacy I was working for at the time had purchased FLAVORx but was underutilizing the system,” she said. “I immediately saw an opportunity to help my patients comply with their prescriptions while improving my sales numbers at the same time.”
Ms. Saxon first used FLAVORx to make it easier for children to take their medicine, but soon realized all patients - including adults and geriatrics - had a desire to improve the taste of their medication.
"My patients would bring me their business as I progressed from pharmacy-to-pharmacy throughout my career, just because I earned their trust through FLAVORx," she said.
Flavored Medication Promotes Community Health
Ms. Saxon used flavored medication as a way to get her customers to use their medicines as prescribed.
"If I can get my patients to finish their 30-day prescription in 30 days and not 60 days, they'll be healthier, and my pharmacy boosts sales by getting the refill on time,” she said.
While she enjoyed healthy sales numbers, Ms. Saxon’s primary goal was always to help her customers.
“Technicians like myself aren’t going to make very much money,” she said. “The satisfaction from this job comes from your ability to change people’s lives for the better.”
Consider an epileptic patient who might suffer multiple seizures every month if they fail to take their medication as prescribed. As a healthcare provider, Ms. Saxon challenged herself to solve that problem.
“Pharmacists and technicians need to work with patients to determine why they aren’t following their prescriptions,” she said. “Maybe their pills are hard to swallow, or they hate the taste of their medicine. It’s your job to identify solutions and educate patients about their options.”
According to Ms. Saxon, FLAVORx is one such solution. But offering medication flavoring is about more than just driving bottom-line sales; it’s about promoting community health.
“If your epileptic patient takes their medication because you flavored it, there’s less chance they have a seizure while driving on the road,” she said.
Ms. Saxon’s most rewarding experience using FLAVORx was with a mental health patient who was non-compliant with their Prozac prescription.
“This individual was bipolar, schizophrenic, and severely depressed,” she said. “Prozac was their only hope for mental stability.”
After conferring with her patient, Ms. Saxon learned the individual hated swallowing the Prozac pills. Her solution was to convert the patient’s oral medications into liquid medications and add flavoring.
“Once we added their favorite flavoring, my mental health patient became more compliant with their medication, felt less suicidal and found themselves in the behavioral science unit less often,” Ms. Saxon said.
Become the Pharmacy That Goes “Above-and-Beyond.”
FLAVORx is a resource to promote community health and drive revenue for pharmacies, but Ms. Saxon says too many pharmacists and technicians get stuck in an unproductive mindset.
“Pharmacists and technicians must stop thinking that it’s not their job to offer FLAVORx,” she said.
When prescriptions refills go up, sales go up. When sales go up, pharmacies can offer additional hours for pharmacists and technicians to work and get paid. Ms. Saxon says that FLAVORx is the tool pharmacists and technicians should use to develop those relationships.
“Once you actively offer FLAVORx, your patients will start talking about you positively and recommend your pharmacy to their friends and family,” she said. “Establish yourself as the pharmacy that goes ‘above-and-beyond’ for its customers, and I guarantee your sales numbers will increase.”