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The Bottom Line Pharmacy Podcast: Harnessing the Power of Pharmacy Differentiation

One of the ways many independent pharmacies are differentiating themselves is by implementing prescription discount card programs.

Under the right circumstances, this can mean significant savings to the patient and an increase in gross margins for the pharmacy.

In this episode of The Bottom Line Pharmacy Podcast, Greco De Valencia, Senior Loan Officer with Live Oak Bank, Ripal Patel, Independent Pharmacy Manager and Founder of SaveonRx, Bonnie Bond, CPA, and special guest, Austin Murray with Sykes & Company, P.A. They share insights into how a discount card program can increase gross profits per script, how to market it, and its impact on valuations. 

Join the discussion with us! 

The Bottom Line Pharmacy Podcast is your regular dose of pharmacy CPA advice to fuel your bottom line, featuring pharmacists, key vendors, and other innovators.

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More resources about this topic:  

Blog – How to Consistently Improve Gross Margins

Video – Gross Margin Expansion Ideas Updated

If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below:

Bonnie Bond: Well, welcome everyone to another episode of the Sykes Bottom Line Pharmacy Podcast. You may see a new face here today. Austin Murray from Sykes & Company is with us. He is our marketing extraordinaire, jack of all trades. He is filling in for Scotty a little bit today while Scotty is tending to some new things in his life. I think we have said that Scotty has just had a new baby a few weeks ago. So, he’s had some conflicts today, but he will be back with us very shortly. We also have Greco De Valencia from Live Oak Bank. We’ve seen his face before. And with us also today is Ripal Patel. He is a jack of all trades when I asked him kind of what his title would be. He is a pharmacist, he has owned his own pharmacy. I believe I heard him say he has worked for the PBM before… That’s unfortunate. But no, I think you said Ripal, you have worked for a chain. So, you’ve kind of done it all, but you are now the founder of SaveonRx, which is kind of what we’re going to discuss today. So, tell us a little bit about yourself, what you’ve been doing and about SaveonRx? 

Ripal Patel: Yeah, absolutely. So, as you said, I started my career off in a chain setting. Then from there, I was there for over a decade, transitioned to more of a mail order model. So worked for a PBM for a short period of time. And then actually opened my own independent pharmacy in 2016. So, I did that for about six years or so. And then obviously, knowing that there’s a, how the shift on the margins are trending over the six years, I feel like there was a need for something that can kind of help pharmacy increase their margin. So, you know, we started the SaveonRx platform once I exited out of the pharmacy in ’22. So, we are a discount card company that works with many pharmacies to kind of help reduce the patients out of pocket costs. And at the same time, where pharmacies can actually make some margin in the middle. 

Bonnie Bond: Perfect, so it sounds like a win – win for both parties, which is not usually the case. 

Ripal Patel: Exactly. I always had a passion like where I felt like the pharmacies are the ones that are doing the counseling, providing the care, like there should be something more meaningful for them to sustain that business and grow that business. So, we wanted to create a product that is kind of tailored to that as well. 

Bonnie Bond: So when we’re talking about as far as the independent pharmacy side of things with this, obviously like you mentioned with reimbursements being extremely low right now for a lot of stores, how can our independent pharmacies that are looking to add different streams of revenue, kind of differentiate their business, things that are going on, how can they get into this and what do they need to know? 

Ripal Patel: So, I think there is a huge push towards cash pay. I mean, there’s a significant from what I have seen is a lot of folks are utilizing discount cards, right? I mean, we have seen the growth of discount card year over year. So, there is some need, just because either people have high deductible plans or no insurance or can’t afford their medication. And then the way we price things obviously, is tending to a lot of folks utilizing the card. So even as the plans are changing over the coming years, a lot of the medications that are, they used to be back in the day on a, even on generic side on a tier one formulary, are starting to shift to a higher formulary. So, we were actually at, I was actually at a Medicare conference a few weeks ago, and that was one of the main topics was how prices out of pocket for folks are increasing because there is some trend in shifting from a tier one to tier two or tier three. And that’s, I think is going to be not only more out of pocket for the patient, they’re going to look for other ways to save. And I believe a discount card would be one of those things that they’re gonna default to in order to kind of get some savings out of pocket for their medication. So I feel like the pharmacy has a tremendous opportunity on that side to help their patients save on their medication, but also to keep them compliant on their medication to manage those disease states that those patients are having. 

Bonnie Bond: Interesting. 

Austin Murray: And Ripal you know, you mentioned when you and I spoke previously, you mentioned how you can actually personalize this card, like the pharmacy can personalize it for their pharmacy, which I think really helps with, you know, differentiating themselves from other people that might be using a prescription discount card as well or not even using a card. So, I just thought that that was very interesting. 

Ripal Patel: Yeah, from a marketing side, we do have a pretty user -friendly platform. So, if a user, or a patient or provider or whoever is going on our platform, which is SaveonRx.net, if you go on there, you can search for medication and by zip code, get pricing for all our pharmacies that are on there. It is a user-friendly platform. We actually will put the independent pharmacy on there with their logo and their branding. So, a lot of times you’ll see some platform that may not provide the branding opportunity. And I think that’s one of the key marketing strategy a lot of independents have is to keep that, make sure that branding is consistent. And similar to that, we can do the physical cards in the branding as well. So, whether they’re working a health fair or doctor detailing or community events, sponsoring a baseball or softball league in their community, it’s a way for the folks that are out there to kind of educate them about their pricing on the platform because that way that helps them drive cash business. I mean, in my store, when I first started, I believe my cash model, I mean, I didn’t really have a cash model. We were doing maybe about 3% total our claims to be cash, but I know there’s a lot of volume out there based on what the trends that we have seen and that’s going to continue to grow every year. And as the bigger discount card company, I mean, as they post their revenue, you can tell there’s a huge increase in the usage of the card. So, I feel like Independent Pharmacy has not captured that piece. And I feel like this is one of the ways that they can try to push some of the cash business to them as well through their marketing. 


Greco De Valencia: That’s actually how I came across Ripal was…  

Ripal, we started talking kind of midway through 2023, I believe, maybe a little bit earlier than that. And Bonnie, I was speaking actually to Nick Secrest at McKesson. And we’re always exchanging just as we do Bonnie with Sykes & Company, kind of trends that we’re seeing, trying to always keep our finger on the pulse of where things are going. And we were really seeing that thing where, 

Bonnie Bond: Nice. 


Greco De Valencia: Ripal, we started talking kind of midway through 2023, I believe, maybe a little bit earlier than that. And Bonnie, I was speaking actually to Nick Secrest at McKesson. And we’re always exchanging just as we do Bonnie with Sykes & Company, kind of trends that we’re seeing, trying to always keep our finger on the pulse of where things are going. And we were really seeing that thing where you know, the gross margin percentage, obviously, as we all know, have shrunk quite a bit. The margin per script has shrunk. So, the thing that everybody’s always looking to do is how are we going to increase gross profit per script? I think as a bank, when we’re financing transactions or we’re looking at current owners’ financials, you know, that’s one of the main things that we’re asking them a lot. How are you achieving the margins and kind of what’s the story behind that? And so, Nick actually was the one in a conversation that mentioned, hey, you should talk to this guy, Ripal, he’s doing this cash discount card. And I as well have been watching the rise of cash discount cards and just the cash pricing cost plus model out there. So, I got to talking to Ripal and I really felt like his story of being an independent owner, you know, understand walking in the shoes of his now customers and what that cash pricing structure can do, even if it’s on an incremental level. So started talking a little bit more and, and, you know, I have no financial interest in this company. We don’t have any financial interests in the company more, just another great contact out there. I do feel like it is a low hanging fruit, as you mentioned. And I know it’s not for everyone and because it depends a little bit on your community, right, Ripal? I mean, that does kind of depend on some things. But I think Bonnie, even from the accounting side, we see when there’s just that incremental increase in profit per script, the difference it can make on the bottom line. 

Bonnie Bond: I mean, every bit counts, you know, with things as tight as they are for some people right now. So, that’s a good question. So, when we talk about, you know, it works for some, maybe it doesn’t work for others. Kind of what’s a good example of a community or, you know, an area that this would work the best in? Or is it easier for you? Is there some sort of process you can go through to kind of analyze if this is a good fit for someone? 

Ripal Patel: Yeah, I mean, so when we do a demo with each store, like we will talk to owners and kind of strategize on what works and what does not work. We do kind of look at the area that the store is located, what’s around them. Are there urgent cares around them? Are there animal hospitals around them? Are there community chamber events that are happening? So, most of the time, mostly all independents are in communities where it works majority of the time. So, where you may not see it work is maybe a store that it’s in predominantly Medicaid area or specific area that may not have a lot of cash business, but majority of the area it does work in. And then we can strategize based on where they’re at and what are some of the strategies you have that you can implement the card. So, I would say 95% of the time it should work in the majority of the area. It’s just how engaged are the pharmacy owners in their community makes, I mean, it drives a lot of that, right? Because the more engaged they are in their community and we become like almost like a supplement to their marketing strategy. So, I can’t say it’s a one, this one will fix everything, but it helps towards getting your margins increased. Yeah. 

Bonnie Bond: Yeah, well for sure, you know, pharmacists have to be looking at all the different, it takes, it’s not just one thing. It’s got to be a, at this point, we’re seeing people get into all different types of revenue streams to keep things going. So, this would just be another piece to that puzzle. 

Ripal Patel: A lot of them sponsor a lot of events, they do a lot of activities. This just gives them a tool to kind of help push people. Because one of the things that I’ve heard for the six years that I had my store was, we always thought independents were expensive. I mean, that was just a, I don’t know why that’s a general consensus among people who don’t use independence. But in reality, it’s not the case, right? So, it’s like how do we get that out there? This kind of helps communicate. Because you can tell people all you want like we have the best prices but until people see it, I think that becomes a differentiator and this kind of the platform helps them kind of guide that piece. 

Bonnie Bond: That’s amazing that you mentioned that I think about that a lot even in my local community. If I’m looking on social media, I at least see two to three times a week someone complaining on social media that I had to sit in the drive thru at X, you know, big box store forever today or I waited forever, or so and so didn’t have my prescription and I just constantly comment. Our local independent go to this, you know, X independent. Why aren’t you going to so and so… And I don’t know what it is. I mean, it’s even people sometimes that I’m like, what are they doing? So, I don’t know what the reasoning would be there. But you’re right. I mean, you’ve kind of got to change that. Change the narrative. 

Greco De Valencia: I think…has to go down to that old saying, you know, Warren Buffett always says, price is what you pay, but value is kind of what you get.  

Bonnie Bond: Absolutely. 

Greco De Valencia: And what I really feel like is, you know, when the kind of pandemic, post pandemic, the value of those independent pharmacies really shined, you know, as being a beacon of a place for people to go.  

Bonnie Bond: Yes. 

Greco De Valencia: And now with all the noise and upheaval that you’re seeing in a lot of the chains, walkouts, massive closures with all the RiteAids, you know, that personal value and the personal touch, patient care that is, I think now even more important than ever, accessibility, you know, those things are there and that’s a big value to the community. And I think where the threat and we, Bonnie, as looking at numbers, you know, we from the banking side, you from the accounting side, we see that next threat that could be out there for the pharmacies, which is those just declining reimbursements. I know Ripal, when you’re talking to clients too, you’re seeing that new, especially now in the new age of pharmacy where the DIR fees are getting taken up in front. We’ve seen a really tougher reimbursement model on the formularies for a lot of the ESI plans, more underwater claims. So, I just feel like for any new owner, for any existing owner, if there’s a program out there that can help you mitigate some of those, to Ripal’s point, I don’t know if this is going to be a fix – all, but it’s something to help mitigate it. You need to take advantage of it because whether you’re owning now or potentially thinking about selling, starting to do those things today are going to create value for you in the long term and value for your patients. 

Ripal Patel: Yeah, and I’ll tell you Greco, as I’m speaking with some of the owners, depending on what kind of plan mixture they have, a lot of them are thinking about not taking insurances at all because they’re working towards where they’re actually losing money on every single script and they want to have a strategy in place if they decide to do that. So, I’ll tell you, we had a couple of stores that dropped one of the insurance plans and tried to shift their clients on or their patients onto the Save on model, and they actually retain like 30% of those clients, those patients. So now they’re making a good margin on those 30% of those patients than they had made on the whole book of business for that particular plan. So I think more and more independents are starting where they’re now really have to take a hard look at whether they wanna take plans or not. And so you’re absolutely right. So. 

Bonnie Bond: We’re definitely hearing that chatter too. Yeah, we’re seeing people trying to look at possibly doing all cash that can, if it works for them, obviously. And definitely people that declined some different insurances last year. They didn’t accept the contracts. Our pharmacists that we’re talking to are, I mean, God bless them. They are not just they’re doing their job, but then at the end of the day, and they’re calling people’s insurance companies and figuring this stuff out, I mean, all day long. And then at the end of the day, they’re having to now analyze the numbers. Not, you know, used to they would pull things maybe into the month and look at the reports, but now it’s like a daily process that we’re hearing from our clients. They’re pulling, and they have to. We actually advise them to do it. To pull, you know, the information from that day and to look at their winners and their losers and they have to look at it and decide, you know, if it makes sense to, and maybe even look at it as a family unit. So, you may lose with this, you know, with one person, but maybe within that family unit, there’s 10 scripts and maybe you make it with the rest. And it is just so much. I mean, I can’t imagine, I don’t work on that side of the bench, but I imagine that it’s kind of overwhelming. 

Greco De Valencia: Yeah, it’s like their total profile. Well, and it’s extremely, it’s gotta be very difficult in that sense too, when you’re looking at either transitioning your store and business or acquiring or growing into another location because all those factors now are, I think the positive is they’re much less opaque. I still think they’re even though they’re taking up on the upfront, I think figuring out how much you’re getting taken out is still kind of opaque and why, but…  

Bonnie Bond: Right. But it still is what it is. They’re just telling you, yeah. 

Greco De Valencia: yeah, yeah, but I think those factors, like you’re talking about, Bonnie do come in and then, you know, what do you do? Do you completely lose that life that was coming or is there a way to switch it over into like something like Ripal’s program? Do you, do you carve out some of the drugs that are there and you send others elsewhere? I mean, we’re having those kinds of conversations a lot and a lot more. And I agree with what Ripal said. I heard the same thing out there on the market with some of those tier one, tier two drugs kind of changing on the Medicare side. So, I think that conversation is gonna continue in 2025, 2026. And Ripal, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. And Bonnie, I don’t know if you’ve seen this too, but we’ve even seen more pharmacies thinking of getting in on the Medicare agent side. I know there’s a little bit of a gray area and a fine line that you have to walk in order to do that, but we’ve seen that. So, it’s an exciting time, but also so many choices out there for the patient, person working the bench, like you said, Bonnie, handling everything. It’s just a matter of being able to juggle. 

Bonnie Bond: There’s not a formula you can follow. Like you couldn’t look at Ripal’s store and how he did things and just mirror that, right? You know, what works for one pharmacist that he’s very successful at may not work in your community.  

Greco De Valencia: Yeah. 

Bonnie Bond: So, you have to really figure out what works for your patient base, because it can be completely different from someone else. 

Ripal Patel: Yeah, I agree completely. I mean, one of the things that even I had an independent that was about two miles from me and their whole strategy was completely different than mine, you know, because there was a mixture of patient, mixture of plans differentiated that piece. One thing that was consistent is the cash pay business is still there for everybody to get, right? It’s just how do you go and get it? And then as Greco De Valencia: alluded to pharmacy, starting to or owners or whoever trying to do the Medicare thing, I think that’s another option as well. I was actually at a Medicare conference a few weeks ago and there’s a huge opportunity on that side for pharmacy owners. You just got to do it in a compliant way. So, you got to make sure you are following the regulations that are set for that. But I feel like that is a way that pharmacies can really, really get to another level or another strategy that they can have to increase the profitability for at least the owners to compensate for some of the losses that they’re seeing on the prescription side. 

Bonnie Bond: Sure. Austin, I think I cut you off a minute ago.  

Austin Murray: No, you’re fine. I was actually, I was going to.  

Bonnie Bond: I think I have a delay. So you started speaking and then I started speaking…  

Austin Murray: Yeah. That’s okay. I don’t have anything important to say.  

[Laugh break]  

Austin Murray: Well, I wanted, I wanted to go back, to Greco, talked about earlier, in terms of valuations and some of the things that he’s seeing with pharmacy owners that are looking to sell, their pharmacy. So, you gotta imagine that this kind of a program has a significant impact on, you know, you’re putting this program in place, you’re increasing your gross profits per script, and that’s got to, when it comes time to sell your pharmacy, that’s got to have a significant amount of importance on the valuation. 

Greco De Valencia: Yeah, I mean, you’re absolutely right. I mean, there’s a lot of factors, as much as like coming to determine what the value of a pharmacy is, what the free cash flow is, and the ongoing sustainability of that. That’s a mix of an art and science, but what I would say is probably a pretty true hard and true consistent fact is if you’re able to have above the market above average gross profit, right, driven by something that is sustainable and proven and can essentially be like almost like handed over to someone in a playbook and I think those things will help drive the value of the pharmacy and help yield a higher asking price, you know? And the bank will usually, as long as they meet the debt service coverage requirements and we feel like there’s a good way of transitioning that so it continues. That definitely not only does it help finance the business, you know, Bonnie, we were joking earlier, like, it also, I think, really kind of, like you said, it adds value to that seller, you know, they could maybe ask a little more and justify it. And if the bank can support it, then, you know, at the end of the day, the market’s willing to pay it, that makes a lot of sense. And I think like Ripal, when we had dinner and you were talking a little bit about the owner that bought your store, how long ago is that? Was it like three years ago, four years ago?  

Ripal Patel: Almost two now, so it’s been a while. Yeah. 

Greco De Valencia: Okay. And he’s still, he or she is still using that program. Right? I mean, there, if we went back and pulled their financials, their margins are the same or have they even possibly grown because of the program.  

Ripal Patel: I think one of the things we do or help the stores if they want to look at is if they’re utilizing the card and they want to know what their margins are running at, we can do the analysis if we get their price. They just let us know what the cost of something is and we can run the numbers. And I’ll tell you that a few store owners that have asked us, they were running a gross margin of mid 70, sorry, mid 60, low 70%. So, the card usage is driving a good amount of margin for these pharmacies when you look at a blended average overall for the all book of business, it’s not even close to those numbers. So, I think growing that aspect, yeah. So. Yeah, so there’s definitely a lot of value in that. But you got to, and we have seen stores that are doing it correctly or marketing the right way. We have seen increased usage in that store because you know they’re driving some of the business to them. Instead of what we tend to see is a lot of times the bigger chains and grocery stores have a higher usage because a lot of them take almost every card that’s out there, right? The dependents are a little bit more selective just because of the fees and things. So, with having an independent friendly card, the margins gets retained at this store. 

Austin Murray: Yeah, that’s very interesting. I know Greco and Scotty are talking about that topic a little bit more in terms of gross margins and valuations at Amerisource this year, at the pharmacy ownership breakfast. 

Greco De Valencia: Yeah. 

Austin Murray: So that’ll be very exciting to hear you guys do a little bit of deep dive there. Kind of shifting gears, going back to what you had mentioned in terms of the marketability of this. So, you know, when it comes to you’re selling your pharmacy, that right go to market strategy the first time is really important. And so having something, a program like this in place to show that like, Hey, we’ve been doing the work to improve our gross margins. And here’s how much we’ve grown it by. That’s a pretty strong value proposition. And for a lot of prospective buyers, that’d be very powerful in terms of marketing that and adding that in your value proposition. 

Greco De Valencia: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I think, I think, you know, we always say that if you’re going to do an acquisition of a business in a store, you know, you kind of have the first, the first shot at it is really the, the best one, right? That’s the one that you want. That’s the one that you want to get right. And the more go to market strategy that where you’re having these types of programs that are attractive to the space, those are pretty important and you want to get it right the first time. But also not only just buying or selling the stores, you know, businesses today, you know, they may want to go out and get a business loan to buy their building. They may want to get a business loan to, you know, expand into a new territory, they may just want to go get a line of credit from their banks, right? And anytime their business financials are healthier, it just makes that process so much simpler. And I think that’s the message that I would say to any existing owner, any new owner, like, hey, like we all know that you have to try it. It’s just finding the solutions. And obviously, you know, Bonnie, we’re big advocates of if you can’t measure the numbers correctly you can’t manage it… 

Bonnie Bond: Yeah. Fundamental accounting. I was about to plug that. Thank you. I would just like to say that none of this is going to help or you’re not going to be able to, it will help, but you won’t be able to see the effects of your hard work and your labor if you do not have up to date numbers and correctly adjusted information. So, it’s all goes together.  

Greco De Valencia: So you also have to have that proper accounting and it all comes together. 

Bonnie Bond: But yeah, that’s a big. And that’s another thing, when you’re talking about selling, and then we preach this all the time, when you’re talking about wanting to sell your pharmacy possibly, you have got to make sure that you have good numbers and information up to date for people to be able to do a valuation and to be able to be able to even know how much to ask or to make sure that you’re not undervaluing. And if you’re the buyer and you’re looking at a store that doesn’t have up to date information, you have no idea what you’re looking at. So. 

Greco De Valencia: And it doesn’t get much easier than cash. It doesn’t get much. I mean, and again, I know like, it’s not going to be a hundred percent of revenues. Although you’re right, Bonnie, we are seeing more people starting to diversify or bifurcate their business into creating a separate where it’s cash only. You know, we, we, we’ve actually heard some people starting to do that. So, yeah, I just think, you know, those things are on the horizon. 

Bonnie Bond: Yeah, it’s not doom and gloom. A lot of people can make it sound that way. I’m kind of like what you said, Greco, It’s an opportunity and it’s exciting in a way. It’s just, you know, people have to get a little creative about how to keep the revenue coming in. 

Greco De Valencia: And hold themselves accountable too 

Bonnie Bond: Right. 

Greco De Valencia: I mean, Ripal I’m sure you are just like all of us here, like Live Oak Bank, Sykes & Company, you know, we’re partnering with our customers and clients and holding them accountable almost, you know, kind of like almost serving as a partner. And I’m sure you’re doing the same thing with your customers too, is holding them accountable to make sure that they’re using the program in the right way and that they’re leveraging it to the best of their ability. 

Ripal Patel: Yeah, I mean, you have to, right? I mean, it’s one of those things where if you’re not pivoting now, I mean, the road’s not that far off then, you know, so you have to market in a certain way, do it in a right way, and then you got to drive that. And I think the days of us just kind of waiting to somebody walk into your door are not there anymore. I think you really have to be out there and trying to drive that business. And even like when I went to Medicare Conference, like a lot of those agents that I spoke with are doing like 15 different things to get one client, right? So, for one person to sign on with them, so pharmacy is no different, right? So, they have to do 10, 15 different things to get that one life coming into their pharmacy and then have other programs in place to retain that. So, I think having that accountability on the store, I think is very important. 

Bonnie Bond: And Ripal, I guess this would also be a perfect time for any startups that are, I work with a lot of startups to do this right out of the gate, right? Because you mentioned marketing and you’re trying to get people in the door. So, this is kind of part of that, getting out in the community, doctor detailing, all of that, right?   

Ripal Patel: 100%. Yeah, it gives them a great marketing platform. We actually just brought our first cash only pharmacy on this model. So it’s not only meant for stores that are, I mean, it works in almost every setting. That’s why I said like 95 % of the time it’s gonna be effective. It just that you have to do stuff on your part as well to make it work. So I think for startup, it’s a great tool. I think it, because at that point there, the most marketing dollars are going when you’re opening, right? So that is where you need to focus and drive that piece. And then for the ones that are more seasoned, it just becomes like an ancillary marketing that we kind of tagged along with their current strategy. 

Greco De Valencia: Hey, Ripal, a couple questions. One is, have you seen anybody try to use this in the long -term care setting? That’s my first question. Have you seen anybody try to use this program or talk to you about this program in the long -term care setting? 


Ripal Patel: No, most of ours right now who are on our program are usually independents and chains and grocery stores, medical centers. So, we don’t have any on the LTC side present, but it will be no different on an LTC side as it is on any other pharmacy setting, right? Because at the the end of the day, they want to provide a certain pricing to their patient base, and this is one of the options to do that. 

Greco De Valencia: And then my other question was, you know, what, anytime you have to create a new program or, you know, change the habits of either your employees or your patients, your customers, you know, there is a, there’s a, you know, it’s a process, right? It does take a while. What are you seeing sometimes as some of the largest barriers or pushbacks that you’re getting with these programs and what’s the average lead time that you’re seeing for these things to turn into more of a proof of concept? 

Ripal Patel: I think that kind of varies from store to store. So, I have seen somebody ramp up like within three weeks and I have seen others that take a little bit longer. So, I think it really depends on, I mean, you got to have almost like a champion in your store to kind of drive it besides the owner because I think that will make a difference. So, I would say we have stores. 

Bonnie Bond: One person that devotes their time to it. man, that was a good point. 

Ripal Patel: The implementation is pretty simple, right? Because we use printers that if they need a card, we can get them out pretty quickly. So, a lot of the leg work we do on our end. But if they want a white label solution where they can put our website on their platform, we can provide that. So, if they want to drive people to their website, so they can show the patient base their other services. And we can give them a link so they can have the, pull the discount card and information right off of their website where they don’t have to be directed to our site. So, we provide them with all those tools. So, it really depends on really somebody championing in that store and how they’re communicating that out. We had a pharmacy owner that, you know, distributed the card within, they had three urgent cares around them. They kind of got their branded cards in there and driving some of those doctors. They work pretty closely with the pharmacy, especially as small business owners and our independents are a great resource for them. So they’re saying hey, if you want to check the price go ahead and look it on here because a lot of times people go to urgent care and may or may not have insurance, right? So they’re going somewhere to get their prescription medication. So I think it just depends on the location and that’s why we want to ask certain questions when we talk to the owners like what is, what does your market look like to make sure there’s the right strategy for that. 

Bonnie Bond: So, to wrap us up, Ripal, give us kind of a play-by-play summary of what people can do to get started with you.  

Ripal Patel: First thing, SaveonRx.net to the contact us page under contact us page there is join our network tab you can do that, or they can email directly at [email protected] and we’ll reach out to them coordinate time to get them a demo and the process is pretty simple once they kind of see what it looks like we get an agreement back usually they’re live in about three or four days and then from there we create the marketing strategy that they have and work with them to create that piece. So, we try to keep it really simple. 

Austin Murray: Bonnie, do you want to kind of get into the bottom line segment?  

Bonnie Bond: Yeah, wrap it up at the bottom line.  

Austin Murray: Yeah, wrap it up. 

Bonnie Bond: I’m going to just, my bottom line is like… 

Austin Murray: Bonnie always goes first. 

Bonnie Bond: I go first so no one steals mine. My bottom line is really just that, you know, this is another seems to be another great way to diversify revenue streams to increase revenue, increase risk profit. And, you know, you just really got to keep your eyes open for what works for you and your community and look for other options. You can’t just fill scripts these days, and you know, you got to do something else. So that’s my bottom line. Greco, you have a bottom line?  

Greco De Valencia: Yeah, solutions are out there.  

Bonnie Bond: Yep.  

Greco De Valencia: Just have to find them and search for them. The partners are out there, the people that’ll help you are out there. We at Live Oak Bank, we’re still very active in lending in the pharmacy space, and if anybody has questions, please feel free to reach out to me. You can find me on the web, LinkedIn. You know, I’m out there. So that’s my bottom line. The solutions are there. Just don’t be afraid to just don’t be afraid to ask and search for them. 

Bonnie Bond: Yep. Austin, you got one? 

Austin Murray: I do have a bottom line. Yeah. From a marketing perspective, in a time where there’s a lot of choices and consumers have a lot of options, you need to do things that help you stand out to show the consumer like, hey, your dollar here goes further or is more valuable than your dollar at this pharmacy. I was talking with Amy, my significant other, and she recently got off of her parents’ insurance. And so now she’s kind of switching over to that. And it’s the perfect time for, and what she did was she switched from a big box pharmacy to an independent pharmacy. And that’s because of those value -added services that she gets whenever she goes there. And just little things like that where she has an abundance of choice, but because she feels as if there’s more value in her dollar going towards this specific pharmacy, she’s going there instead. That’s my bottom line.  

Bonnie Bond: Yeah, that’s a great point. You got anything?  

Ripal Patel: I guess my bottom line, as Greco was saying, there are a lot of solutions out there. I think independents have a lot of choices where they want to go. They want to make sure you partner with the right folks that’s going to help you drive it. And then at the end of the day, we want to prevent as many pharmacy deserts as possible. So, you have got to get your margins up. You have got to find a new way to strategize, a new way to do things. I think the traditional way, I feel like it’s there, but I just don’t know how effective it is. So, you gotta find a solution. And I feel like we can offer that one of that solution. If it’s not us, then there’s others out there. But I feel like the independents need to do something in order to make sure their margins are protected and so they can grow. I mean, they don’t wanna be stagnant either, because they should be able to grow because they’re putting a lot of time and effort into their stores. And maybe that’s because I was a previous pharmacy owner. I feel like how much work I had done in my store. You know, so you just gotta make sure that they’re protected to a degree. 

Bonnie Bond: Yep, great point. Yeah. Well, you definitely understand it. So, you have the final say on that. Ripal, thank you so much for joining us today. Greco, always a pleasure. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you this summer out and about at some trade shows. And we will see everyone the next time on the next episode! 

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