The impact of coronavirus on pharmacies

Pharmacies have incurred significant additional costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Dutch Society for the Promotion of Pharmacy commissioned SiRM to estimate these costs to inform pharmacists’ discussions with health insurers about compensation.

The coronavirus pandemic necessitated adjustments at many community pharmacies for them to continue providing necessary patient care. The Dutch Society for the Promotion of Pharmacy (KNMP) asked SiRM to examine the additional costs associated with these adjustments.

Via its membership letter, the KNMP invited its members to complete a web survey, providing us with nearly 400 pharmacies’ insights. We also spoke with several pharmacists from chains and independent pharmacies, noting the ubiquitous ‘can-do’ attitude that helped them adapt in such a short time.

SiRM estimated average additional costs of more than €13,000, although this varied considerably, with a standard deviation of €11,000. Almost all pharmacies reported increased adjustment, delivery and non-billable healthcare costs. However, other costs varied significantly. Together, these costs explain more than 60% of the cost increase. The remainder is attributable to higher personnel costs and additional drug depreciations, although there is considerable variation. More than half of pharmacies did not experience higher staff costs or extra depreciation, whereas these were substantial costs for the other half.

Pharmacies can use our research results to inform their discussions with health insurers about compensation for additional incurred costs.

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