Subject: Important Changes at Asti’s South Hills Pharmacy

Dear Valued Asti's Customers and Patients,

We begin this message with heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering loyalty and trust in Asti’s South Hills Pharmacy since our establishment in 2005. Your continued support has been the cornerstone of our commitment to providing exceptional and personalized service.

We would like to announce several changes that will be happening at Asti’s Pharmacy to allow us to continue to best serve our community.

Asti’s South Hills Pharmacy was created to serve the community with care and support that exceeds expectations. However, the current economic challenges, driven by predatory practices from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and Insurance Companies, have created a pressing need for change.

PBMs have significant control over pharmacy economics through “take it, or leave it” contracts, access to patients, and administrative “red tape”. Specifically, PBMs take advantage of pharmacies through a multitude of anti-competitive practices such as: predatory reimbursement rates and audits, narrow or exclusive networks, and operational mandates that include restricting from where we purchase medications and how we document our daily activities. The lack of control over many critical elements of our business places immense strain on our ability to cover the escalating costs of operating a pharmacy like Asti’s. You can learn more about some PBM practices HERE.

In parallel, the broader economic landscape introduces its own set of challenges with inflation impacting both the labor and goods markets. However, unlike most other businesses, we do not control what we charge for the vast majority of what we sell (again – PBMs tell us what we must accept for payment). Therefore, our costs to operate increase – while our revenues remain flat or reduce. This is unsustainable.

Beginning Monday, December 18th, we will be making multiple operational changes to our day-to-day activities which we will highlight below:

Changes Taking Effect Monday, December 18th:
  1. Phone Availability: To better focus on in-store operations, our phone lines will be active from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. This adjustment allows us to allocate more resources to fulfillment without interruption. It also allows us to better streamline breaks for our staff – who work tirelessly to provide great service to you all.
  2. Inservice Days: Beginning in January 2024, we will implement Inservice Days, during which the pharmacy will be closed for either a half-day or a whole day. This dedicated time allows for additional staff training, education, and addressing outstanding documentation requirements. We will provide advanced notice for these scheduled days, and we are certain this will contribute to an enhanced level of service in the long run.
  3. Technological Enhancements: Also beginning in January 2024, we will be incorporating new technologies to streamline tasks such as coordinating deliveries and payments. Text-to-pay will be required for all deliveries and shipments, providing a more efficient and secure payment process while reducing the need for manual steps within the pharmacy.
  4. Delivery Policy: In an effort to optimize delivery routes, we will discontinue same-day deliveries and instead require advanced notice. We will do our best to accommodate true emergencies, such as hospital discharges or acute antibiotic needs; however, these will be the exception and not the rule.
  5. Inventory Adjustments: Certain medications will be removed from our inventory due to significant reimbursement losses. Carrying costs, combined with substantial negative reimbursement (ie. we are paid less than the medication costs to purchase), make the handling of these medications simply unsustainable. We will make every effort to help our patients obtain their medications, but you may find that many pharmacies take a similar stance.
  6. Service Charges: We will begin charging for certain services that we’ve historically provided at no cost. Examples of services that will be impacted are: delivery/shipping of refrigerated products, after-hours support, and special requests such as specific generic manufacturers or custom packaging. This excludes our adherence packaging service, RxMap, which will remain free for all patients.
These adjustments are necessary to adapt to the economic realities and continue delivering quality service. We have – and will continue – to evolve our business, but you should know that the healthcare industry is currently punishing those that are actually taking care of patients. The recent bankruptcy filing of a major chain,  chain-pharmacists walking-out on their job, and the announcement of the closure of hundreds of pharmacies nationally (chain and independent), are further evidence that our current pharmacy industry is broken. Rather than selling our business or closing the doors – we are taking necessary steps to change.  Unfortunately, some of our customers and patients will be impacted.

Your understanding of these changes and continued support are invaluable to us. We will be working diligently to minimize the negative impact that you may feel, and we appreciate your candid feedback on our performance. If you have concerns about these changes, we encourage you to voice those concerns to your Insurance Company or Pharmacy Benefit Manager, as well as your state and federal legislators. They should hear from you how important your preferred community pharmacy is to achieving and preserving your good health.

Thank you for trusting Asti’s South Hills Pharmacy to care for you and your family.


Asti’s South Hills Pharmacy