Pharmacy Entrepreneurship: What does it take to succeed as an independent community pharmacy?

The decision to become a pharmacy entrepreneur was a not an easy one for me.  Owning my own pharmacy was a scary proposition!! I would have to leave a secure, well paid position as the pharmacy manager of the busiest pharmacy at a regional grocery chain, to fulfill my dream of owning a retail pharmacy.  I would be entering a business environment with declining net margins on prescription drugs, increased competition from mail order pharmacies, and flat or declining prescription dispensing. Add to that a sluggish economy and we have the makings of a nightmare.  I would have to be crazy to make this move!!

Well, I guess I’m crazy!!  Not only did I become a pharmacy owner, but I also started from scratch!! Yup, I opened a brand new pharmacy with zero (I mean $0) initial sales.  I cashed out my 401(k), sold my stocks, begged and borrowed and joined two other equally crazy pharmacy professionals to open ANSR Pharmacy.  And I will tell you that I would do it again in an instant!!

The thing I haven’t shared with you is that it took years of research, discussions, calculations, planning, and revisions before my partners and I were ready to take the plunge.  I believe that success in any business requires motivation, determination, imagination, creativity, and the ability to embrace change.  I also believe it is necessary to take calculated risks based on facts and experience, while mitigating risks by weighing costs and benefits and acting quickly but judiciously.  A successful business is built around the owner’s strengths and his or her flexibility to adapt to changing business environments.

Independent pharmacies have been evolving for years, expanding on the traditional dispensing model by adding patient care services and products, pharmacy compounding, specialty drug dispensing, and medication therapy management. We must continue to embrace change and seek opportunities and innovations to further the future of pharmacy practice.

About Ali

I have been a pharmacist since 1986. I have practiced in the community pharmacy setting since 1989. During this time I have learned a great deal about the challenges pharmacists must overcome to provide quality service and patient care. Forging relationships with patients, physicians, pharmacy organizations, other pharmacists, and pharmacy personnel have offered me a unique perspective in how to own and operate a successful pharmacy. I constantly strive to learn new avenues to advance the profession as well as the business of pharmacy. I graduated from University of Washington in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, and again in 1989 with a Master in Business Administration. I continued on to Willamette University College of Law, where I earned my Certificate in Dispute Resolution and Juris Doctor in 1992. I hold pharmacy licenses in Washington, Oregon (Retired), and California, and am a member of the California Bar.
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1 Response to Pharmacy Entrepreneurship: What does it take to succeed as an independent community pharmacy?

  1. binhvo2847 says:

    As someone who would like to pursue the entrepreneurship pathway someday, I Would love to hear more about your experiences, stories, struggles, and accomplishments.


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