December 10, 2018

Staff Pharmacist Isn't Your Only Option: Why Independent Pharmacy Ownership May be Right for You

Published Online: Monday, Nov 27, 2017

As there is much more to being a pharmacist than just dispensing pills, there are significant underlying factors that must be considered before becoming a pharmacy owner. It is crucial for individuals to understand what has to go into owning an independent pharmacy—finances, staffing, legal concerns, and otherwise—before starting the process. 

An important place to start is by talking to other independent pharmacy owners. Learning what these mentors wished they would have known before opening their doors could mitigate similar hardships for a new pharmacy owner. Joining an association, such as the National Community Pharmacists Association, or similar organizations in your state are fantastic resources.  

An option for potential pharmacy owners is the opportunity to start an independent franchise. This may be beneficial since owners still have the flexibility to customize their offerings to meet the needs of their customers, while also receiving guidance and support from a larger corporate entity, such as your primary drug wholesaler. Becoming a franchise or participating in a buying cooperative may be of interest to current independent owners who are looking to expand their locations and offerings but are unsure of how to do so without guidance. 

Some familiar drug wholesale distributors—including AmerisourceBergen Corporation—have developed programs for independent chain pharmacies, such as Good Neighbor Pharmacies. Specifically, the AmerisourceBergen Pharmacy Ownership Services program can provide current or potential owners with crucial information and assistance that may not otherwise be readily available.

Under most pharmacy ownership programs, distributor programs provide experienced advisors who can discuss goals, expectations, and financial options with potential owners. Their programs offer many of the same resources available to chain drug stores, such as advertising, private label, store layout, signage, and training programs. Advisors are able to connect pharmacists with the necessary resources about the business side of ownership, including financial options, business plans, and market research. In short, they can become your business mentor. 

While a great understanding of pharmacy is crucial to success, so is understanding the business aspect of owning your own pharmacy. Receiving guidance from the distributor’s programs may be especially beneficial if you have a limited business background or just want to build on the experience of others. These services can guide a new or current pharmacy owner through the process with little to no roadblocks faced along the way.  

Opening a pharmacy and working for yourself is a great way to gain independence and translate years of “behind the counter” knowledge to improve business practices and patient outcomes.

About the Specialty Pharmacy Times Industry Guide

The Specialty Pharmacy Times Industry Guide includes comprehensive editorial content relative to all specialty pharmacy stakeholders. Content includes information relative to market trends, commercialization, distribution, order to cash, HUB Services, managed care strategies and DIR fees. The guide also includes profiles, and a complete list of stakeholders along the patient journey: specialty pharmacies, wholesaler distributors, manufacturers, support services, group purchasing, and trade associations.

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