By Devin Stone
As the financial editor of the 2009 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, I was responsible for calculating the statistics used in the report. So I was disappointed to read a blog posting on Drug Channels that exaggerated the owner discretionary income for independent community pharmacy, estimating the figure to be $300,000.
Opening any small business will entail very real financial risks, which means that a defined minimal expected rate of return is necessary as an incentive to encourage an entrepreneur to open a pharmacy rather than to work for an already existing retail establishment. Reflecting that risk, the 2009 Digest data documented a net reduction in the overall number of independent community pharmacies – 590 fewer than the previous year.
It’s highly unlikely that a pharmacy owner will ever make a fraction of the kind of money PBM chiefs David Snow, George Paz, or Thomas Ryan. But through hard work these pharmacists can continue to keep their profession alive and relevant, with locally owned pharmacies that are staples of the community.
On a side note, it was particularly surprising for Drug Channels to criticize NCPA over transparency when Drug Channels/Pembroke Consulting does not disclose a meaningful list of paying clientele. Given the opinions expressed on Drug Channels, advising readers of possible conflicts of interest would appear to be a prudent step.
Nevertheless, on the issue of transparency, the Digest is provided free of charge to all NCPA members and an electronic copy is sent to every pharmacy school in the country. This makes it widely accessible and commonly used by academics and students, at no cost. Like most trade associations, members receive certain additional benefits that non-members don’t have access too.