Pharmacy Analytics Trends and Insights


January 15th, 2021

Data is fueling the healthcare industry. Pharmacy analytics can play a significant role in improving care and more. Find out how.

pharmacy analytics

Pharmacy analytics can be a powerful tool for the industry. The world of big data is only growing, and by leveraging it, pharmacies can make better decisions. They can also play a role in drug shortages. As pharmacies begin their critical role in COVID-19 vaccinations, pharmacy analytics could also serve the public health. 

In looking at pharmacy analytics trends, here are some key trends and insights that should be top of mind for the industry.

Drug Shortages

The pharmacy industry was facing challenges with drug shortages and supply chains. The pandemic exasperated these even further. There was a higher demand for some drugs that were possible treatments for the virus. At the same time, shutdowns all over the country impacted every supply chain.

Data can help. First, it can identify potential shortages faster when you combine historical data with AI or other tools to model future supply. Data analysts can then proactively determine shortage risk. 

Medication Adherence

Medication non-adherence costs the healthcare system millions every year. There are many reasons patients don’t take their medications, many related to SDOH (social determinants of health). Consumers may have concerns over copays or access. Pharmacy analytics could flag these patients. Then health plans, especially ones associated with Medicare Advantage, could create outreach programs to help these patients. 

For example, in partnership with the pharmacy, the plan could advise the patient of delivery or curbside pickup services. Small steps like these could keep people healthier and reduce strains on the healthcare system. 

Risk Detection of Questionable Drug Use

The country is still fighting an opioid epidemic. There are also many other categories of drugs for misuse—those prescribed for anxiety, ADHD, and sleep, to name a few. Analysis of a pharmacy’s user base, inclusive of all locations, is an effective tool in flagging possible drug misuse. 

Overprescribing is still rampant. Two recent settlements by the Department of Justice (DOJ) highlight this. 

First, Reckitt Benckiser Group agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle claims it promoted an opioid addiction treatment, Suboxone, to physicians they knew were indiscriminately writing prescriptions for it. Further, the DOJ accused the company of using its “Here to Help” program to not help addicts but connected them with doctors who prescribed their drug.

Another case involved Avanir Pharmaceuticals. They settled a kickback case for $108 million. The DOJ allegations consist of the company incentivizing practitioners to prescribe their drug Nuedexta for conditions like dementia, although it was not an approved use.

Pharmacy analytics could be critical in alerting regulators and organizations to abuses by both patients and prescribers. 

Store Performance

Another use of analytics for pharmacies is to measure their own performance. By looking at real-time data, you could compare month-over-month or year-over-year. It could provide you with insights on patterns around growth or decline. Data points of interest may include script performance, Rx sales, patient demographics, prescribers, payers, and more. 

With a business intelligence tool, your decision-making will be data-driven. It could help improve profitability and reduce patient churn. 


Pharmacy is playing a pivotal part in testing and vaccinations. All pharmacies are submitting data to government agencies in some form. These pharmacy analytics are critical to understanding infection patterns and inoculation rates. There have been challenges with COVID-19 data aggregation and interoperability. Data from pharmacies could improve the process.

Pharmacy Analytics Can Impact Care

These use cases for analytics all have an undercurrent—they can improve patient care in this country. Prescriptions are a vital part of the healthcare ecosystem. The data from pharmacies has the potential to impact care, public health, and overall decision-making.

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