NCPA Hosts 10th Annual Student Pharmacy Business Plan Competition

 By Kevin Schweers

 This year NCPA celebrates the 10-year anniversary of what is now the Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition, and today three impressive teams of pharmacy school students vied to win the contest.

In 2004, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the NCPA Foundation established the NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. The goal of the first-of-its-kind competition is to motivate pharmacy students to create the blueprint necessary for buying an existing independent community pharmacy or to develop a new pharmacy.  It is named to honor two great champions of independent pharmacy, Neil Pruitt, Sr. and H. Joseph Schutte. 

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy, last year’s winner, seeks to repeat in the 2013 competition. Its plan to establish a new business known as 241 Pharmacy is innovative in several respects. First, it would be openly marketed as a pharmacy with a global “cause” in addition to is primary mission of enhancing U.S. patient health. Specifically, it aims to improve local access to essential health services around the world. Its name – 241 Pharmacy  – reflects its slogan – “Two needs. One solution. Two for one.”

Team members aspire to open 241 Pharmacy in an upscale part of Little Rock, Ark. There, they hope both the philanthropic nature of the pharmacy and its offering of high-end coffees imported from the developing Rwanda economy and prepared by an on-site barrista would appeal to those who already patron stores within the same shopping center. In addition, the pharmacy would offer a combination of traditional independent community pharmacy services like prescription medications, compounding, immunizations and medication therapy management (MTM).

Women make or influence 80 percent of their family’s health care decisions and those are the consumers that the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy team targets in its plan to establish Wellness Integrative Pharmacy. Monthly “Mammogram Mondays” with an on-site mobile lab and a focus on osteoporosis including bone density screenings, counseling and specialty products are some of the ways they hope to cater to women.

Immunizations, compounding and adherence services are some of the more traditional pharmacy services it intends to offer. Wellness Integrative Pharmacy would be established within a medical services building, giving it proximity to prescribers and would be marketed to the higher education and higher income population surrounding the Norman, Okla. college town.

Purchasing and expanding the services of Pacific Pharmacy is the intended goal of the team from the University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. They see the potential to grow the pharmacy’s services for patients across-the-board from compounding to MTM to hospice care. In addition, the team intends to lead the pharmacy into providing immunizations and patient education and counseling. In addition, programs such as NCPA’s Dispose My Meds drug disposal initiative would resonate well with this environmentally conscious California college town. Team members plan aggressive, sustained outreach to the community at health fairs and through churches and organizations like the YMCA.

One can only hope the next 10 years of this contest produce as many or more impressive, innovative pharmacy student competitors who aspire and go on to be future independent community pharmacy owners. 

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