Skip to Main Content


Dr. West-Strum is Chair and professor at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS. She received her BS in pharmacy and PhD in pharmacy administration from the University of Mississippi. Dr. West-Strum teaches pharmacy marketing and medication safety. She also serves as the faculty liaison for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) student chapter. Her research interests pertain to understanding provider and patient behavior to improve medication use and advance community practice. She is project editor for the NCPA Digest and has developed pharmacy education materials related to pharmacy quality for the Pharmacy Quality Alliance.



After completing this chapter, readers should be able to

  1. Explain the importance, both financially and operationally, of purchasing and inventory management to a pharmacy.

  2. List purchasing objectives and inventory management objectives for a pharmacy.

  3. Describe procurement and carrying costs for a pharmacy.

  4. Calculate inventory turnover rates and use this information to make purchasing and inventory control decisions.

  5. Describe three methods of inventory management.

  6. Describe the role of technology in improving inventory management in pharmacies.


It is 5:00 pm on a Monday at Community Mental Health Center pharmacy, and for the fifth time today, Marie Parker, PharmD, does not have the medication she needs to fill a prescription. She has had to explain to each patient that he will have to come back tomorrow to pick up his medication or take his prescription elsewhere. What a day! Meanwhile, the wholesaler delivery person just arrived with today’s order—4 hours late! The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the mental health center is questioning how much the pharmacy has been spending on medications and pressuring Marie to find a less expensive vendor. Marie decides that she will look into using another vendor. Fortunately, a representative from XYZ Wholesale Drugs dropped off her card last week. XYZ Wholesale Drugs is a large national company with a good reputation. Marie contacts the XYZ representative and describes her current situation. She is constantly running out of products, and with her pharmacy’s gross margins shrinking, she needs to obtain drug products at the best price possible. The level of service provided by her current wholesaler seems to be decreasing (e.g., the order is frequently late, and she seldom sees a customer service representative to discuss these issues). Marie asks the XYZ representative some questions and uses this information to compare XYZ Wholesale Drugs with her present wholesaler (Table 24-1). Now that she has all this information, she is not sure what to do.

Table 24-1Scenario Wholesaler Comparisons

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.