When I wanted to start my own pharmacy business, I looked all over for guidance on this topic. I looked to The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) for information and found a treatise on “Opening a Pharmacy: A “How to” guide” and “Effective Pharmacy Management”. Although both books were a good beginning, especially for those with little or no pharmacy experience, there was still a large number of topics which needed to be addressed, including:
- What path to ownership should I take?
- Should I choose a junior partnership?
- Should I purchase a pharmacy outright?
- Should I start a new pharmacy from scratch? If so,
- How much money do I need?
- Where do I obtain financing?
- How much time will it take to become profitable?
- Should I start this venture on my own or with partners?
- How will I find partners?
- What kind and how much business experience should I look for in a partner?
- Do my partners have to be pharmacists?
- How much business experience do I need to run a pharmacy?
- Where & how will I learn the necessary skills to operate the “business” of pharmacy?
- How much time will I have to devote to the business, while working as its sole pharmacist?
- How will I hire, train and manage pharmacy staff?
- Is previous management experience necessary or do I have to get an MBA in order to run a successful pharmacy business?
- Can I still be a pharmacy clinician while owning and operating an independent pharmacy?
- Will I have time to provide Medication Therapy Management?
- Will I be able to use my expertise as a pharmacist to be a resource to my customers and patients on special topics such as diabetes, women’s health, weight loss, etc.?
The questions above were only a sampling of what I wanted to know before embarking on this adventure. So I continued to search for answers on the internet, from other pharmacy owners, and representatives of various wholesalers.
In 2005 when I began to consider pharmacy ownership, I had already been working as a pharmacist in various positions (staff pharmacist, pharmacy manager, pharmacy development manager, etc.) for close to 20 years. I knew I should not make this decision lightly, so I researched the topic to death before I took the plunge. Still, it took close to 5 years and a lot of effort and heartache before I was able to make my dream of pharmacy ownership a reality.
I am starting this blog in order to offer a forum for all independent pharmacists as well as those who wish to or are considering operating an independent pharmacy. I want to discuss current and past issues affecting the business of pharmacy and develop practical solutions for the problems facing independent pharmacists today.
I invite all of you to chime in on the topics being discussed and hope to solicit new topics from you for future discussion. I look forward to guest authors who may want to express their views on issues currently under discussion or to introduce other relevant topics. Most of all I am excited to start a blog that I hope develops into the true voice of the independent pharmacist!!