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What is RCPA?
13 Oct 2023

What is RCPA?

RCPA stands for Retail Chemist Prescription Audit.  RCPA is a sales survey tool which is used to gather the competitor Knowledge. Retail chemist Prescription Audit is the important concept in pharmaceutical product management and sales management.

Pharma distribution network starts from stockist appointed by company.  Stocks then distributed to retail chemists.  When doctor prescribes the product to patient, patients buys at retail chemist.  This way the sales are done.  Here you will find actual consumer is patient and indirect consumer is doctor because he prescribes the product.  You never come in direct contact with consumer. That is why pharma selling is different from other selling. Here retailer will stock products of various companies and has got significant role to influence your selling.  Let us discuss about buying motives of retail chemist.


Buying Motives for Retail Chemist

Here we will discuss key buying motives of retail chemist.

Fast Turnover

The retailer always stocks thousands  of different formulations marketed by pharma manufacturers. He invests his money to stock. Here if any product not sold for longtime he feels the burden. We have to ensure products starts moving from his counter regularly – which will enable him to place orders regularly and maintain inventory at all times. He will also develop confidence in you and the company.

Regular Visits

Retailer always look for regular visit by MR. And feels that his problems should be solved like Expiry breakage, supply etc. When your retailer finds you are working hard, your products are prescribed by doctors regularly and you are straightforward in your approach the retailer develops inner feeling of respect for you.

Gross Margin / Schemes

Retailer is always interested in the profit margin he gets after selling the product. That is why you should always able to tell how much profit/margin he will get after sales. This is one of the ways to push your brand with higher MRP. He always looks for Schemes. Some Companies give some free gifts on purchase of certain quantity of product. Say 200 strips or 50 Bottles. The gift may be of some utility value like house hold articles. Some Companies give free units like 10 units + 1 unit free like that. Both the types of schemes will be announced for stipulated period for certain products in a year. The retailer will buy with your strong relationship with him and product movement in his counter. The off take depends on how fast you liquidate the stocks by requesting the doctors. Many companies incentive wise the respective sales for you. So intern you also start getting monitory gain.

Company reputation

Retailer also look for Company reputation and marketing policies. He will also look for credibility and regularity of field force. Don’t promise the things to the retailer which is not in your control. Disclose only company announced scheme (don’t promise Extra). This will lead to building up credibility. Solve his problems at the earliest problem.  This will create confidence in you and in turn builds a strong image of the company in the minds of retailer.

Objective of RCPA

After understanding the buying motives of chemists let us discuss how you should start RCPA.  The first and the fore most objective of RCPA is to understand how much your product moves viz-a-viz competitors. We have given a format which can be used while doing RCPA.  The best time for RCPA is 9 A.M. – 10 A.M, 2.30 P.M. – 6 P.M.  Usually this time retailer is partially free because normally during that time doctors don’t have heavy practice.

  • Ask the movement of objective products or focus products you have planned for the nearby doctor as against the competitor brands.  Take up at a time 3 products. (Use the format).
  • Find out the status of order dispatch which you have booked last time.
  • Check who have started prescribing your products (new prescriber) and who have stopped and changed to competitive brand.  Also find out the impact your last visit by asking any improvement in the number of prescriptions from regular supporters.
  • Find out the stock position of your brand and competitor brand.  This will give the ratio of inventory retailer is keeping.  Say your product he isd keeping 20 units and competitor x 5 units then it is 25% movement is of competitor.  In some instances it may reverse also.  This actually gives you the speed of product movement.
  • During your interaction find out any campaign your major competitor is conducting or any bonus offer /schemes they have floated.
  • Find out any breakage, leakage Expiry of products idle stocks (non-moving stocks)of any of your brand.   Also find out about service he is getting from the stockist  like promptness in dispatch, Credit note adjustment etc.
  • Always do  POB (personal order booking). This will ensure the availability of stocks and improvement in secondary sales and thereby primary sales.

It is imperative to always make a note in your diary or note book.  This will be the greater information for you while preparing call planning in focusing the right products to right doctors.  Not only that whatever information you gather will be important feedback for the company to know the competitor activity and design the counter strategy accordingly.


Some companies provide space in daily reports where you have to mention competitor activity and chemist booking etc.   The record you maintain will help you and your manager for a call strategy.

Format: RCPA

Name of the product Name of the dr. prescribing at present Quantity in units per week Competitor Brands Name of the Dr. prescribing Quantity in units per week Remarks / conclusion

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