pharmacy first

With the Pharmacy First (PF) program rolling out in the UK, pharmacists have a great new opportunity to engage with their community and offer treatments for a range of common ailments. This makes care more convenient for patients and eases the burdens on traditional healthcare facilities. Many pharmacists are also looking at Pharmacy First as an opportunity to increase revenue.

After all, each consultation is £15 and if you meet the minimum activity threshold you earn an additional £1,000 each month. The question is, which service has the potential to bring in the most traffic, and sales, to your pharmacy?

Here at Pharmacy Mentor, Brad, our Marketing Manager who has 11+ years of online marketing experience sat down and ran the numbers. He found that if you are interested in bringing in the largest number of pharmacy first appointments, UTI treatment is likely the way to go.

You may be saying to yourself, but PF only covers UTIs in women which means half my potential customers are not eligible for treatment. While that is true, there are some great reasons as to why it is still likely the most profitable of the Pharmacy First offerings.

First of all, there is the amount of search in the UK. Check out the monthly search in the below chart. You can see that UTIs get more searches (volume) each month than any other treatment-based search for a PF condition.

pharmacy first

This indicates that by sheer volume of demand, UTI treatment is more likely to earn you money.


Next, we can look at seasonality. Infected insect bites are most likely to happen when bugs are out and active so those searches spike in summer and drop way down in the colder months. That makes them a great service to market starting in spring but if you want consistent volume and high numbers, this is not the service to focus on.

Sinusitis is most common after a cold or the flu. These are far more likely in the colder months of the year. As such, we can see a drop in search volume as the weather improves in spring and summer. The seasonality for these conditions is less drastic than for infected insect bites. That is likely thanks to pollen and lower air quality in spring and summer.

Vaccination and Age

Shingles and impetigo have relatively stable demand across the year but they have their own issues. Shingles are very uncommon in people under 50 and people who got the chicken pox vaccine are far less likely to get shingles according to the centres for Disease Control and Prevention. That means the market is technically shrinking for shingles patients.

Impetigo can be caught at any age but it is most common in younger children. That means most of the population is unlikely to need help with this ailment.

The final two conditions are sore throat and earache. These are not directly tied to any seasonal factors, nor are they restricted to a certain age group or vaccination status. However, they have significantly less search than UTI treatment. This could be because these conditions tend to go away on their own or they may just not be something people need help with as often.

By contrast, demand for UTI treatment is high and there is not much seasonality. The below graph shows Google search data from the past 5 years on UTI searches.

pharmacy first

While there is some fluctuation, it is remarkably stable.

Finally, we look at something that is very important, repeat business. For most of the 7 conditions Pharmacy First covers, once they are treated, they may never recur. However, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, 4 in 10 women who get a UTI will get at least one more within 6 months! That means if you provide a good service, you could see them again multiple times in the same year.

This means UTI treatment offers high demand across the year, a large audience and the opportunity for repeat business. As such, it may very well be the most lucrative PF service you can offer at your pharmacy.

Let Pharmacy Mentor Help You

If you are interested in advertising/marketing your pharmacy first or other services, Pharmacy Mentor is here to help. We offer a variety of solutions to help you build your business and improve your online presence. Contact us today to learn more.

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