Peter, how am I going to sell any books if you are giving it to them for free?
He talks about developing a niche business. On September 2, 2011, the FDA pulls 500 Rx-only cold, cough, allergy products from the market. You know which ones they are. Nothing special other than the price. Good riddance. That leaves only the OTCs. Who is dumb enough to go see a PA with a cold and get a recommendation for an OTC when you will do it for nothing. Big sign in your window: ”Cold, Cough, Stuffy Nose Medicine Advice Here”.
The boomers will not age gracefully. They demand to be youthful, vibrant and sexy for the whole ride. If you can help them do that, you have a profitable niche. Bio-equivalent HRT if you compound, Nutrition support. You can figure it out. You just quit thinking when you went to work for the chain.
Stay out of debt. Drive a Focus or a Civic. Rent for awhile. If you buy the Lexus, the 3,000 square foot on the lake, you will be a “Prisoner of Comfort”.
Here’s what Peter had to say:
I used to be faculty at a school of Pharmacy and students would tell me that everything they learned in class was a waste of time, because in the real world, there’s no time to counsel. They acted like indentured servants. Year after year, I tried to remind them that they were the licensed professional, not a slave. But they had become institutionalized.
I opened my own pharmacy. Was I scared? A little. But that fear is what corporate pharmacy relies on. Fear of losing your job. Fear to take a calculated risk and open your own practice. Fear of the unknown. A little fear is useful, but the amount of fear within our profession is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.
If I, with no real previous community pharmacy experience, no business training, poorly financed, primary bread winner, poor location in the middle of the worst recession in 50 years, can succeed, surely you guys with tons of experience can.
What is holding you back? FEAR! It is easier to criticize corporations and boards of pharmacy from behind a comfortable paycheck and miserable job. Think of all the patients that either storm out of your pharmacy or another pharmacy due to bad service because the corporation’s poorly thought out staffing and protocols.
These patients would get better service/care from you and would become loyal patients. The average gross profit on a Medicare Part D Rx is about $11-12. Using that as the “worst-case scenario” you can easily figure out how many Rx’s per day you need to pay your bills, salaries and overhead. If you’re not getting gouged for rent, you can survive on about 2100-2200 Rx’s per month. That’s about 100 Rx’s per day. I know most of you are filling 200 per day or more with just one tech. If you focus on service, clinical care and possibly a niche, you can build a nice practice, have ALL debt paid-off in 2 years and start building a nest egg. You will have to give up the nice cars and nice vacations for a while. If you don’t have a big fancy house yet, hold off for a while. If you’re a recent grad, continue living like a poor student for 3-4 years. There is no greater freedom than being able set your own hours, policies, service model etc. Yes, there are risks. Some will fail, even with the best plans. Take it from me, the upside GREATLY outweighs any downside.
Faculties of pharmacy do a good job at giving you a base to practice anywhere. The issue that my former students pointed out is that they had become glorified techs. My bigger concern is that faculties are turning their students into sheep. Our profession needs more lions. There is always the risk that payers will cut back reimbursement, but there’s also the hope that clinical billing becomes a reality.
There will never be a perfect time to open a pharmacy. I rolled the dice with two small kids, big mortgage and little experience. I was hoping that passion, patience and creativity would be enough. In my case, I was lucky. And if there was a well established indie near you that closed, 99 percent of the time this is not due to a problem with the underlying business, it’s usually the owner got into something he or she shouldn’t have(drugs, booze, gambling, leveraging the pharmacy for other businesses that fail). What you should consider doing is taking over the location.
My location is urban in Windsor Ontario. I have two chain pharmacies sharing my intersection. I have about 11 pharmacies within two miles of my pharmacy. The main issue for me was not the location. It was developing the niche services and marketing them effectively. I became a primary destination, not an afterthought after receiving a prescription.
Check out www.novacare.ca for more info.