Pharmacy Schools Could Use Business Courses


How well did your pharmacy education prepare you for starting a pharmacy business?

You received a good education in pharmacy school. You studied chemistry, biology, pharmacology—the whole nine yards.

This was good enough to help you pass your pharmacy boards, even get you a job. But now, you want to reboot your pharmacy, perhaps even create a dream pharmacy.

How well did your pharmacy education prepare you for that?

You want to open your own pharmacy, but you don’t have the business education to determine which choices are right and which ones are not. Or, you already own your own pharmacy, but you’re currently facing the dastardly downward trend of insurance compensation, which is rapidly destroying your cash flow and the ability for you to earn the type of living for which you devoted so many years of your life to get the ideal education.

Somewhere around 1990, the powers that be extended pharmacy education to 6 years. If you graduated that year or afterwards, you obtained a doctorate degree.

This extended education is really excellent for the practice of filling prescriptions, perhaps even giving some better advice to patients. But in those 6 years, what did they teach you about entrepreneurship and leadership, strategies and marketing, or even the necessary elements of a profit and loss statement and other financial reports?

In his famous books The Millionaire Next Door and The Millionaire Mind, Thomas J. Stanley maintains that millionaire business owners who created their own enterprises and results are actually not good candidates for graduate schools.

Is the corollary also true? I do not believe so.

However, pharmacy schools need to keep up with the demands of the marketplace.

More and more of you want to establish your dream pharmacies, but since 2009, the marketplace has become incessantly more demanding, even unforgiving. You either know what you’re doing from a business viewpoint, or you’re going to be heading for a big disaster.

Entrepreneurship and leadership can be taught. So can strategies, team building, and marketing.

When they’re not taught, the learning process is usually from the “school of hard knocks,” which is often far too expensive, and sometimes can be drastically misleading.

Sooner or later, pharmacy schools with a vision of the future will establish some courses in business education. If they’re attached to major universities, perhaps they can extract knowledge from their schools of business, which is something needs to be done in this arena.

Of paramount importance should be classes on how to successfully market compounding services and natural medicines. Pharmacy schools should no longer avoid the subject of marketing, especially of alternative therapies.

The pursuit of healthy aging plans is very important to patients throughout the land. Should it not likewise be important in the curricula at today’s pharmacy schools?

Meanwhile, in the absence of a good business education, I heartily suggest you seek competent advice and coaching—even mentorship—from someone who’s “been there, done that” for independent pharmacies.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at (888) 737-6400 or

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