The mail-order pharmacy concept has always been on the periphery but has seen a huge uptick thanks to widespread digitization and interest in remote services.
People simply aren’t willing to spend time waiting in line at the local pharmacy when they can order their 90-day supply and fulfill their prescriptions with the convenience of home delivery. Even Medicare, health insurance companies, and Medicaid can authorize prescription delivery.
These pharmacies are positioned for success with simple enrollment, and brand-name prescriptions, but new challenges are now emerging. These include logistics, fulfillment, and most notably, packaging. Mail-order pharmacies need to master the art and science of product packaging to maximize results in a competitive, ever-changing industry — and it’s now or never to get it right.
Here’s what next-gen pharmacies need to know about packaging to protect products, how to keep customers happy, and achieving their unique business goals.
What Is a Mail Order Pharmacy?
A mail service pharmacy works by delivering healthcare prescriptions, like a 30-day supply, to your door. Mail order prescriptions are a convenient way to obtain the automatic refills you need without a trip to the drug store.
Customers may find that the convenience of a mail-order pharmacy — especially in the digital age — is much preferred to the old-school way of doing things. With discounts on top of that, the benefits are clear.
Behind the scenes, mail order pharmacies work similarly to your local pharmacy, but tend to work specifically with a single health plan, rather than accepting multiple different types of insurance. If a drug requires a prior authorization, they handle that too.
This means that customers are usually tied to one provider for their current or new prescription drugs, so it’s in an organization’s best interest to maintain high levels of service.
Some customers may find that the traditional retail pharmacy format works better for their lifestyle or with their insurance plan, but mail order pharmacies are improving in every aspect, offering a suitable alternative for much of the population.
What Are the Special Considerations of a Mail Order Pharmacy?
Compared to standard brick-and-mortar operations, mail order pharmacies face unique challenges when it comes to shipping and packaging. Here are the special considerations that these organizations should keep in mind as competition ramps up.
Established mail order pharmacies send out thousands of packages per week. Temperature regulation is a priority no matter where they go.
High temps can cause certain medications to deteriorate and lose efficacy, or even destabilize and become dangerous for consumption. Customers who count on these medications can’t wait another week to receive urgent meds, so retaining the right temperatures can be a matter of life and death.
Knowing this, packages must be chosen wisely to combat high heat, and on the other end of the spectrum, prevent freezing.
There’s no telling when and where humid conditions may strike on supply chain journeys, and mail order pharmacies need to be prepared for this hidden atmospheric moisture.
When vapor crosses package barriers, it can ruin labels and fine print on bottles, which are crucial to proper administration. In worst-case scenarios, the medications themselves may be ruined by moisture and cause bigger problems for patients.
Thankfully, pharmacies have learned these lessons and employ packaging solutions choosing stronger barriers with lower moisture vapor transmission rates. As a result, medicines arrive clean and dry.
We may not view oxygen as a major threat, but from the perspective of mail order pharmacies, oxidation is a real concern that must be combated with proper packaging.
This is largely due to the sensitivity of certain medicines to atmospheric oxygen, which is ever-present throughout the supply chain. Unlike humidity or temperatures, oxygen is always a factor, 24 hours a day, and needs to be treated as the urgent priority it is.
It’s no wonder why oxygen barrier packaging is so important to mail order pharmacies nowadays. This is a necessary layer of protection, rather than a nice-to-have feature.
No matter the size or scope of a mail order pharmacy, these operations must consider shipping costs, shipping volume, protection in transit, and other logistical components that come into play with packaging.
Directors need to run the numbers from every angle, including the cost per shipment, how much product can be shipped at a time, and what limitations come between them and the customers.
We’re not talking about shipping chinos or paperback books here. Medicines need to get there on time, in one piece, and within the allocated budget. This makes packaging a key area in which gains can be made for greater profits to avoid painful mistakes.
With the mail order format, pharmacies need to consider another level of child safety with the packaging they choose and how medicines are protected. Kids are curious about what shows up in the mail and can break open packages at any time. Extra security features are essential to keep children safe.
Adults also expect more child safety features with medicine storage units, since twist-off bottles aren’t always so effective.
This opens up new possibilities for pharmacies to improve on current foundations and set themselves apart.
Why Are Mylar Bags a Good Shipping Option?
After years of engineering and experimentation, industry leaders have recognized biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate – also known as BoPET or Mylar – as the winning material for packaging.
Here’s why Mylar is the packaging solution that mail order pharmacies have been looking for all along, and why teaming up with a partner like Dymapak is the best way to utilize it.
Pharmacies must facilitate shipping back-and-forth when running a mail order business, and reusable packaging makes all the difference for customer experience.
Mylar is designed to withstand extended shipping durations and gives pharmacies that extra resilience to navigate supply chains with success.
Few materials are as well suited for child resistance as Mylar, which can be designed to be tough to tear, puncture, or tamper with. Many of the best child-resistant packaging solutions are made from unique Mylar composites with extra safety features.
Saving just a few cents here and there can add up to major profit margins at quarter’s end for pharmacies. Since packaging is so pricey, affordable solutions like Mylar help cut costs without reducing quality.
As always, buying in bulk from a trusted provider makes better business sense. Mail order pharmacies will want to establish these partnerships early on.
Better product protection means that medicine arrives intact and in full effect. This not only helps people stay healthy but keeps pharmacy businesses in the running as they combat waste and preserve reputations.
Fortunately, Mylar has some of the best barrier protections available while maintaining lightweight form and flexibility.
Branding matters no matter what industry you’re in. Customers pay attention to designs more than ever. Packages should be created with an eye for design that complements the brand. With Mylar, custom designs are more easily achieved and offer plenty of options.
Rather than an inefficient, one-size-fits-all packaging approach, mail order pharmacies need custom sizes to ship at scale. Mylar bags can be customized to the perfect size, wasting no material and reducing the cost of shipping over time. It’s an easy win for everyone involved.
The Bottom Line
Mail order pharmacies can achieve so much through simple changes to their packaging strategy, so why pass up this opportunity? Work with Dymapak to see what’s possible for your pharmacy brand with custom bags made from durable materials to keep your products safe.