Opportunities and Challenges for Independent Pharmacy Owners
As independent pharmacy continues to evolve, pharmacy owners face both a potential for growth and obstacles to overcome to enable that growth.
Despite the growing industry challenges, the evolution of independent pharmacy has also yielded potential opportunities for community pharmacists to grow their business.
According to Charlie Le Bon, the Director of Pharmacy Ownership for AmerisourceBergen, the independent pharmacy landscape is particularly fertile for pharmacy owners looking to expand their business.
“There are roughly 20,000 independent pharmacies nationwide, and each year about 700 to 900 either transition or sell their business,” Le Bon told Pharmacy Times during Thoughtspot 2017. “I think the marketplace is ripe for pharmacy owners to grow their business via the acquisition of other independent pharmacies.”
However, Le Bon added that pressures such as shrinking reimbursements and DIR fees have stretched pharmacy owners thin, making it difficult for them to maximize their businesses.
Given these challenges, Le Bon advised independent pharmacists to develop a long-term business plan that incorporates an eventual exit strategy.
As part of their effort to support independent pharmacists, AmerisourceBergen and Good Neighbor Pharmacy offer a variety of solutions meat to help pharmacists throughout the buying or selling process. The services include
a business coaching program that is designed to train pharmacy owners on how to more effectively run their business, a provider network to connect them with local prescribers, and a pharmacy ownership program meant to assist them in defining their goals and increasing the value of their businesses.
“We created the pharmacy ownership program because we want to help preserve and grow independent pharmacy,” Le Bon explained. “Community pharmacists need to understand their challenges and pitfalls when it comes time for them to retire and exit the business. We’re here to help facilitate that transition of ownership to make it successful and to maximize the value of the deal.”
Le Bon said the programs help empower pharmacy owners and provide them with the resources needed to thrive amid today's changing landscape.
“Every year independent pharmacy changes, and there are many things that pharmacy owners can’t control,” he stated. “But we try to help pharmacy owners control the things they can by showing them how to operate their businesses efficiently and by providing them with prescriber data and opportunities to market their business and services to prescribers in their communities. All these tools and resources assist our customers to be the most profitable and successful pharmacy owners that they can be.”