4 Ways Pharmacies Can Benefit from Central Fill as a Service

Central Fill as a Service™ can help retail and mail-order pharmacies save time, minimize mistakes, cut costs and improve adherence rates, with minimal upfront investment. This article explores Central Fill as a Service benefits and explains how CoverMyMeds can help pharmacies improve medication access, adherence and, ultimately, patient care.

Melanie Christie​
Melanie Christie​VP, Product Management
March 23rd, 2023
Four Ways Pharmacies Can Benefit from Central Fill as a Service
Central Fill as a Service allows any size pharmacy to benefit from pharmacy automation technology with minimal upfront investment. Runbo Chen

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the way patients interact with pharmacists. As stay-at-home orders led telehealth’s popularity to skyrocket, pharmacists had to take on increased patient care roles while also supporting government initiatives to control the pandemic and ensuring patients continued to receive their prescriptions.How COVID-19 has impacted the role of pharmacists around the world, National Library of Medicine, Feb. 22, 2021

According to a recent study, nearly 9 in 10 pharmacists were found to be at high risk for burnout due to the pandemic — feelings attributed to staffing and scheduling issues, precepting requirements and rising patient needs.The Striking, Startling Realities of Pharmacist Burnout, University of Illinois Chicago, Dec. 6, 2022

Central Fill as a Service™ can help alleviate some pressure while improving efficiencies. Instead of relying on the traditional central fill model that requires significant upfront investment, Central Fill as a Service is available to pharmacies through a per-prescription fee that can dramatically reduce the pharmacy’s per-prescription cost.

Overall, Central Fill as a Service can help pharmacies and pharmacists save time, minimize mistakes, cut costs and improve adherence rates. Let’s explore each benefit in more depth.

Benefit 1: Save time to focus on other priorities

Pharmacists’ to-do lists are increasingly long, growing beyond traditionally associated tasks like preparing and packaging prescription medications for patients. Now, they may also be expected to conduct health and wellness screenings, give immunizations and offer advice on healthy lifestyles.Pharmacists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021 If pharmacists can reduce or even eliminate the time it takes to count and dispense pills, they can instead focus on population health and experience of care.

Central Fill as a Service connects pharmacies to central fill facilities where medicine is dispensed through automation technology and intelligent pharmacy control software to enable efficient prescription fulfillment.

Once filled, the prescriptions are quickly verified and shipped directly to patients’ homes or their local pharmacies through advanced routing algorithms. With Central Fill as a Service on their side, pharmacists can save time on their traditional responsibilities and help more patients at the pharmacy counter — a benefit for both parties.

Central Fill as a Service systems boast accuracy thanks to robotic filling.

Benefit 2: Minimize mistakes like medication errors

The three most common manual dispensing errors include:

  • Dispensing an incorrect medication, dosage strength or dosage form
  • Miscalculating a dose, and
  • Failing to identify drug interactions or contraindicationsMedication Errors, AMCP, July 18, 2019

Each year 7,000 to 9,000 people die due to prescribing and/or dispensing errors in the U.S. Additionally, the total cost of looking after patients affected by those medication-associated errors exceeds $40 billion each year, with over 7 million patients affected.Medication Dispensing Errors And Prevention, National Library of Medicine, July 3, 2022

Central Fill as a Service, by design, focuses on safety and accuracy through robotic filling. Additionally, several safety measures are in place such as vision technology, scales, barcodes and RFID technology to ensure accuracy.

The goal result is always right patient, right medication, and right dosage — with zero mistakes.

Benefit 3: Cut costs by paying a per-prescription fee

Central Fill as a Service doesn’t only help save time and minimize mistakes, it can also provide cost savings for the pharmacy.

While automated dispensing is nothing new, pharmacies using traditional central fill models must pay upfront capital costs and ongoing fees for equipment, staffing and medication inventory, which prevents many retail and mail-order pharmacies from benefiting from these services. But now, pharmacies that might otherwise deem central fill unaffordable can also enjoy its rewards.

By using Central Fill as a Service capabilities, pharmacies pay per prescription so they can decide which prescriptions to fill in-store and which to outsource to the central facility — a process that can save money and reduce inventory.

Convenient access through central fill can translate to better medication adherence.

Benefit 4: Improve adherence to enhance patient outcomes

Medication adherence rates are low — only about 50% of U.S. patients take drugs exactly as prescribed. Additionally, nonadherence can account for up to 50% of treatment failures, around 125,000 deaths and up to 25% of hospitalizations each year in the U.S.Medication Adherence: The Elephant in the Room, U.S. Pharmacist, Jan. 19, 2018

Since Central Fill as a Service helps free pharmacists to focus on other tasks, they can spend more time counseling patients on the importance of medication adherence and educating them on best practices for taking their prescription medications.

With an aging population on the rise, medication adherence is more important than ever. Nearly 95% percent of people over 65 have at least one chronic condition, and nearly 80% of have two or more.Get the Facts on Healthy Aging, National Council on Aging, Jan 1, 2021

Many treatments for those chronic conditions overlap, which makes medication side effects and interactions even more likely.

Fortunately, convenient access through central fill can translate to better medication adherence and, in turn, improved patient outcomes by enabling more patient counseling and education at the pharmacy counter.

Central Fill as a Service can propel retail and mail-order pharmacies into the future

CoverMyMeds’ mission is to help people get the medicine they need to live healthier lives. One of the ways we do that is through solutions that enable a variety of central fill opportunities. Central Fill as a Service is a CoverMyMeds-operated, centralized solution that allows retail and mail-order pharmacies to benefit from central fill automation and industry expertise with minimal upfront investment.

Our central fill offerings, including Central Fill as a Service, are helping provide better medication access, adherence and convenience for patients — wherever they are, whenever they need it.

These offerings, which are managed by Sanitas pharmacy control software, support the entire pharmacy ecosystem. They provide a flexible model that brings value to pharmacies and their patients, and does so safely, more quickly and more reliably.

We’ve spent 35 years innovating and providing a variety of solutions to pharmacies that allow them to leverage our scale and industry-specific expertise. Our customers can rely on us to set up their Central Fill as a Service pay-per-script systems in a way that helps them not only grow, but also meet the everchanging needs of today’s patients.

To learn more about CoverMyMeds’ Central Fill as a Service solution, contact

Melanie Christie​
Melanie Christie​VP, Product Management

Melanie Christie​ is the vice president of product management at CoverMyMeds.

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