The season of sickness is coming soon, folks! It’s that special time of year when colds and the flu are spreading like wildfire. And it’s time to prepare your pharmacy to do battle. Last year’s flu season was relatively mild. While it’s still a bit too early to forecast whether this season will continue that trend, pharmacies should be preparing for the season as usual regardless. Whether it’s the right vaccines and Rx meds or the best over-the-counter (OTC) and non-medicine items, this blog will help your pharmacy get ready with all the best items for the upcoming 2022-2023 flu season. So, grab a box of tissues and a cup of chicken noodle soup. Let’s do this.
Vaccines & Rx Flu Meds to Have in Stock
Nearly all of the big chain pharmacies (Walgreens, CVS, etc.) have already rolled out their influenza vaccine campaigns for the 2022-2023 season. In all likelihood, your independent pharmacy has already done the same. If not, it’s time to get on it. Start by going to the CDC website to see which flu vaccines are recommended for this season. Next, place orders for these with your vendors to ensure you have the right ones in your pharmacy’s inventory.
Of course, not everyone chooses to get a flu shot every year. In order to treat unvaccinated people when they get sick, you’ll need to have prescription treatments on hand. Here’s a list of prescription flu treatments you might want to have in stock:
- Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
- Zanamivir (Relenza)
- Peramivir (Rapivab)
- Baloxavir (Xofluza)
OTC Cold Meds to Have in Stock
No vaccine or prescription meds are going to help patients who come in with the common cold. For them, OTC meds that treat symptoms are the best way to go. Even those being treated for the flu may not seek out treatment in time to be given prescription remedies. In these cases, you’ll need plenty of OTC cold and flu meds on your shelves.
Your pharmacy should have OTC items to treat the usual cold and flu symptoms:
- Fever, headache, and body aches – Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen
- Cough (wet or dry) – Guaifenesin and Dextromethorphan
- Congestion – Oxymetazoline, phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine
- “All-in-ones” – Nyquil, Dayquil, Mucinex Fast-Max, generic equivalents, etc.
Non-Med Items to Have On the Shelves
When people are sick with a cold or the flu, they aren’t sure just going to want medicine. Everyone has their staple comfort items as well as other non-medicinal items. To make sure your pharmacy is a one-stop shop for all of your customers’ “under the weather” needs, you should stock your shelves with these go-to products:
- Canned chicken noodle soup, instant soup mix, and/or ramen noodles
- Facial tissues
- Heating pads
- Heated blankets
- Hand sanitizer
Don’t Forget About Marketing
Even after you’ve got your pharmacy stocked and ready for the upcoming flu season, it won’t do you much good from a sales perspective if your customers are not aware of your efforts. This is why marketing is so important. You need to get the word out to make sure you reduce overstock as much as possible at the end of the flu season.
Here are some of the things you can do to make sure customers have eyes on your cold and flu season products:
- Email Campaign – Consider sending out an email campaign with a theme along the lines of “We have everything you need to stay well this cold and flu season!” Use this email to draw attention to your flu season inventory (remember, some people like to stock up on essentials before they get sick).
- Social Media – Remember to post about offers for cold-and-flu-specific items on your pharmacy’s various social media pages.
- Outdoor Signage/Marquee – Use your streetside signage or marquee to remind passersby that your store is stocked with everything they need for cold and flu season.
- In-Store Signage – Use brightly-colored signage to draw customers’ eyes to non-medicinal items once they enter the store.
The season of sickness is here, folks. Thankfully, it won’t be long before it ends. Ensure your pharmacy is stocked and ready to take full advantage of seasonal sales with these essential cold and flu items and ensure you are marketing them properly. Until next time, stay well.
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