By Kevin Schweers
At NCPA’s national convention, the 9th annual business plan competition again brought three worthy teams of pharmacy school students together to exchange well-thought-out dreams of community pharmacy ownership.
2012 brought 40 total entries in the Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. The three finalists presented their plans before a panel of judges on October 13th.
“By giving students a chance to develop and test their business models, we are able to better prepare tomorrow’s pharmacy leaders,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. Hoey and other NCPA leaders recognized their appreciation for competition sponsors Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Pharmacists Mutual and the NCPA Foundation.
Four students comprised the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy team: Team Captain Brandyn England, Kevin Barton, Blake Johnson and Tyler Shinabery.
They identified a long-time independent pharmacy in Little Rock whose owner wises to transfer control to another independent. In order to grow the pharmacy and repay the purchasing costs, they outlined opportunities for a unified marketing plan; a more effective and patient-friendly store front end; wellness-centered services for patients including a personalized medication dosing program based on a patient’s individual genetic make-up. Their pharmacy will stress the “community” in independent community pharmacy and will provide today’s healthcare with the science and technology of tomorrow, they argued.
The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy was represented by Team Captain Ashley Lanham, Jessica Cox and Sara Holliday. They aspire to launch Riverside Pharmacy out of an existing independent pharmacy in a large Kentucky city. They envision new and innovative practices for patients, while keeping traditional services like compounding custom orders for individual patients. Separate rooms for private patient medication consultations; community immunization programs; and formal efforts to help patients manage conditions like hypertension and diabetes are what they hope to bring to the pharmacy.
The team with the shortest trip to San Diego was Team Captain Daniel Huynh and Nataliya McElroy of the University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Through an interactive question-and-answer banter back and forth, they described their intent to establish Pacific Rim Pharmacy in San Luis Obispo, CA. Their plan combined clear-eyed fiscal realities of reducing operating and inventory costs to remain competitive with personal touches such as offering customers change in $2 bills so they remember where they received the unusual currency (and hopefully bring their business back).
The competition continues to showcase both an impressive array of tomorrow’s pharmacists and the almost limitless flexibility independent community pharmacists have to design a practice that best meets the needs of local patients. Read more about these individual teams in a series of Q&A interviews recently conducted and posted on the following pages.