The Super Bowl of Pharmacy Ownership—Are You a Winner?


By Bill Popomaronis, RPh

Ok, because pharmacists are highly trusted professionals and for full disclosure, you should know this past weekend’s Pharmacy Ownership Workshop, sponsored by McKesson, ended at 12 noon on Super Bowl Sunday. Plenty of time for the football enthusiasts attending to get home and enjoy the game with the beverage of their choice.

Terrible towels and cheese heads were displayed by speakers proud of their cities and football teams. A very spirited weekend of learning then ensued.  Still, I was impressed with the number of pharmacists (many working in publicly traded chains) looking for alternative practice settings that include consideration of independent pharmacy ownership.  Maybe that’s why McKesson partnered with NCPA last year to extend NCPA’s Pharmacy Ownership Workshop program to help hundreds of pharmacists realize the dream of running their own pharmacy practice.

I’ve got to believe that these entrepreneurs see the future the way I do. Namely, that supply is now exceeding demand for pharmacists. Unlike veterinarians with only 28 accredited schools of veterinary medicine to meet demand, our profession responded to shortages by increasing the numbers of pharmacy schools to meet demand from 81 in 2000 to 120 today.

Alright then, so now what’s a newly minted grad to do?

Simple business logic would seem to dictate that signing bonuses and raises will drop sharply. And, while experience has its value to some employers in a marketplace, it’s hard to see pharmacists as more than just an expensive, interchangeable commodity to be replaced with that shiny new graduating “coin”.

Do you disagree? Well, then explain how, according to the NCPA Digest sponsored by Cardinal Health, it costs approximately $10.50 in dispensing costs just to break even but $4.00/30 scripts abound. Yep ….pharmacists in some operations are “human loss leaders”.  IMHO, there is no denying it!

Well, agree with me or not, I never wanted to practice pharmacy this way and I NEVER did.  I’m betting the 94 attendees choosing to risk missing the festivities didn’t want to either!  I refuse to be a commodity … Additional ownership workshops for 2011 can be found here.

Are you ready for a new challenge?

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