Kyle McCormick envisioned the opening of his own pharmacy, incorporating a cost-plus membership model designed to provide savings for patients by cutting out unnecessary middleman costs. After all the research and planning, this dream became a reality in March 2020 when he opened Blueberry Pharmacy in West View, PA.
However, just one week later, Pennsylvania issued a statewide stay-at-home order, presenting an unexpected challenge. Despite the unexpected circumstances, McCormick has persevered in moving his pharmacy forward, eager to showcase its unique services.
“It’s been quite a challenge. Simple things like getting promotional materials printed just don’t happen,” McCormick admits.
To reach the West View community, he started promoting his pharmacy on Facebook, but prescription orders haven’t picked up as much as he'd hoped.
Fortunately, his front-end efforts attract customers for different reasons.
The current situation brings in people seeking items like gloves, toilet paper, and thermometers. By drawing them in, McCormick has the chance to introduce his pharmacy. He stays optimistic, seeing it as a means to connect with a broader audience.
The hope is that, down the line, these customers may need prescriptions filled and remember his pharmacy.
McCormick’s business model is born out of his experience as a pharmacist battling DIR fees and inadequate reimbursement. He recognized the need for a more patient-centric approach to medication access, unaffected by profit concerns.
“We do what’s best for the patient regardless of how much insurance factors in,” he emphasizes. “Cost reimbursement shouldn’t be a factor, but I mean, it had to be in that world.”
This conviction led him to establish a pharmacy where insurance isn’t accepted – simply because it isn’t needed.
At Blueberry Pharmacy, everything is priced at the base generic medication cost plus a small dispensing fee, earning the store the nickname of the “Aldi of drug stores.” No inflated prices or hidden fees from third parties — patients can become members to access even lower costs.
“It didn’t make sense to have such a high dispensing fee on multiple medications for the same patient. So that’s how I came up with the membership piece – they pay a monthly fee or yearly fee, and that dispensing fee comes down to $3,” McCormick explains.
Through this model, he assists his patients in paying the lowest amount necessary for their medications.
Learn more about Kyle’s cost-plus model on EP 105 of the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast:
When you find out that Kyle McCormick is the only employee at his pharmacy, you may wonder about how he manages add-on services like home delivery. Who handles the deliveries?
“That’s me,” he shares with a laugh. “So that’s probably gonna be one of my first hires: a delivery driver.”
Despite the challenges associated with operating the pharmacy on his own, he argues that it beneficial keeps costs down and provides customers with remarkably low prices. While not entirely alone, his wife Pam, also a pharmacist, lends a hand at the store.
He knew his pharmacy had the potential to be successful when he read another article on the RedSail blog about Good Shepherd Pharmacy’s membership model.
Good Shepherd shares a similar structure where members pay a flat monthly fee for medications at little to no extra cost.
McCormick read about their success and thought, “If they can get 1,000 patients, I hope I can get 1,000. It was a kind of proof of concept for me.”
McCormick avidly follows the weekly newsletter, NextWave, staying updated on new tips and software features. He says he chose to open his own store with PioneerRx because he used the software in his previous job.
“Oh, I’ve used it for 5 years. I love it. My coworkers would call me The Pioneer Nerd,” he proudly recounts.
“The biggest thing for me was wanting something new and fresh,” McCormick expresses.
And the name has lent for some brightly colored marketing materials that really catch the eye.
The name is also unique and easily distinguishable – or so he thought. The most ironic part is how he secured his first official customer.
“A script got sent to me, and I was like, ‘I have no idea who this person is. This might be an accident.’”
So he contacted the patient, who confirmed the mistake – despite the fact that the store was the only Blueberry Pharmacy in the area. Surprisingly, everything worked out in Kyle’s favor.
“It actually worked out because the patient ended up filling their prescription with me,” he says.
Blueberry Pharmacy may not have opened in the way Kyle McCormick had initially planned, but he exudes energy, creatively navigating any obstacles.
He is adapting his pharmacy to the “new normal” and actively seeking ways to assist more members of his community.
Let your pharmacy follow his lead, starting with the best technology on the market. RedSail Technologies offers industry-leading pharmacy software systems, including PioneerRx, to help you get started.