PHARMACY

The RxOwnership experience: Independent owners past and present talk about the ups and downs of buying and selling in today’s market

BY David Salazar

SAN DIEGO — McKesson hosted its annual RxOwnership lunch event here on Friday at ideaShare 2015, offering an insiders’ look at the market for buying and selling pharmacies, and the considerable advantages ownership entails.

Jim Springer, RxOwnership’s regional VP for the south region, introduced a panel of current and former pharmacy owners led by special guest emcee Mark Jeffries, author of the book “The Art of Business Seduction.” The panelists shared their ownership experiences and talked about the intricacies of buying and selling a pharmacy, as well as the resources that McKesson can make available in the process through its RxOwnership program.

“One of the biggest things that McKesson RxOwnership does is find you a good fit — a pharmacy that matches the way you want to practice and serve your patients,” Springer said, teeing up the conversation.

Panelists included Norm Talkowski, former owner of Bloomfield Drug Store in Pittsburgh; Loren Pierce, owner and CEO of Moye’s Pharmacy and Atlanta-based Pharmacy Group; and Purva Patel, a relatively new owner who opened the Doctor’s Choice Pharmacy in Upland, Calif., in the past few years.

As a newcomer to the pharmacy business, Patel spoke about how RxOwnership and many of McKesson’s other programs helped her find her way through the difficult first stages of getting her first business off the ground. In addition, Patel also tapped into important organizations and resources at the local level to help guide her journey to becoming her own boss.

“When you’re new, starting a business, it’s a lot of work,” she said. “You have to form alliances when you’re by yourself and you’re opening a start-up. You need all the help you can get and there’s help out there.”

Talkowski talked about the opposite experience — the often-difficult task of finding the right buyer for your independent pharmacy that won’t look to change the business once it changes hands. As someone who had sold a pharmacy both with and without the assistance of RxOwnership, Talkowski talked about his experience with RxOwnership, and how McKesson was able to not only find him a prospective buyer, but also make him feel good about his choice to sell his pharmacy in a community that he cared about and who would pick up where he left off, helping to nurture the business.

“The fact that I knew them, the fact that they would continue to operate under the same name, with the same way of operating, and nobody would really know that I left because everything was operating the same — that was huge,” he said.

Beyond just helping him find the best buyer for his business, Talkowski also talked about other critical McKesson services and support tools, which helped him understand the changing pharmacy business and what he had to do to stay competitive.

“You need to work a lot harder and a lot smarter than I planned to when I started out in pharmacy,” Talkowski said. “What I would advise is to learn everything there is to learn, use every tool available no matter who offers it,” he said.  “McKesson and Health Mart are making them available to you to learn about all of it.”

Pierce, who entered into pharmacy through a junior partnership with an independent pharmacy owner, turned to RxOwnership to help him grow the franchise that he has since built up to 10 stores. He emphasized the need for a reliable partner to navigate the pharmacy landscape.

The key takeaway Springer and the panelists had for attendees was the fact that there is more of a market than they might have initially thought. The news of the potential for the pharmacy market was promising for the group of students in the crowd contemplating the opportunity to begin their pharmacy careers as their own bosses. Earlier that day, as part of a Future Pharmacist program, the students met with McKesson RxOwnership regional VPs West region Corey Miller  and Karen Schmidt to help understand what pharmacy settings were best suited for them and what resources were available if they decided they wanted to work at, or purchase their own, independent pharmacy.

“For buyers and sellers there’s good news on both sides. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for those who want to buy or start their own pharmacy,” emcee Jeffries said at the beginning of the event, pointing to NCPA data saying that 10,000 pharmacies will change hands in the next 10 years. “This is a very active marketplace.”

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IPC names winner of 2015 Most Valuable Pharmacy award

BY Antoinette Alexander

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. —The Independent Pharmacy Cooperative has selected Lombard Pharmacy and owner Craig Kueltzo as its 2015 Most Valuable Pharmacy.

Kueltzo, his family and the pharmacy staff received IPC’s MVP award on June 26 at the IPC Annual Business Meeting held during McKesson ideaShare 2015 in San Diego.
 


“It’s my pleasure to highlight the amazing work done by owner Craig Kueltzo and his pharmacy’s staff by awarding them IPC’s Most Valuable Pharmacy for 2015,” stated IPC president and CEO Don Anderson. “Lombard Pharmacy represents an essential business in the heart of its loyal community, relishes the importance of community leadership and promotes a business culture that always strives for excellence in customer service.”
 


IPC’s MVP Award recognizes a pharmacy that realizes the value of its extensive engagement within its cooperative. Lombard Pharmacy actively participates in various IPC initiatives and takes full advantage of the variety of IPC programs and services available to them, realizing the critical impact they have on the pharmacy’s operations.
 


“IPC’s allegiance is to independent pharmacy and promoting the future of independent pharmacy,” stated Kueltzo, who has also served on IPC’s advisory board. “I wouldn’t be without them, and our IPC membership has meant a lot to us over the years.”
 


At a special ceremony, Kuetlzo was surprised at the pharmacy on June 11 with a special acknowledgement ceremony involving a visit from IPC director of sales operations Mindy Herrmann.
 


“It’s truly humbling to receive this great award in front of my peers, family and staff,” Kueltzo stated. “It recognizes the wonderful work done by everyone here at Lombard Pharmacy, and it means a lot to me.”  
 


IPC’s previous MVPs were: 2014: Tieton Village Drugs of Yakima, Wash.; 2013: Beemon Drugs of Jackson, Miss.; 2012: Yost Pharmacy of Mason, Ohio; 2011: Neuhauser Pharmacy of Madison, Wis.; 2010: Windham Pharmacy of Windham, N.Y.
 
Dating back to 1983, IPC has grown to be the nation's largest group purchasing organization, representing more than 2,500 members. With locations in Sun Prairie, Wis., and Phoenix, Ariz., IPC prides itself on providing access to programs and services to put profit back into the independent pharmacy.
 

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C.ROBINSON says:
Jul-06-2015 05:51 pm

Congratulations Craig from everyone at RxCherryPick. We've always known that your an award winning pharmacist. Best Regards Craig Robinson

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FDA approves cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi

BY David Salazar

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration recently approved Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ Orkambi (lumacaftor 200 mg/ivacaftor), a new cystic fibrosis treatment that received designation from the FDA as a breakthrough therapy and as an orphan drug.

Orkambi is specifically for individuals with cystic fibrosis with a mutation (F508del) that disrupts water and chloride transportation in the body by producing an abnormal protein. The leading cause of the disease is when an individual inherits one copy of this mutation from each parent.

“The FDA encourages manufacturers to develop new and innovative treatments for serious rare diseases like cystic fibrosis,” John Jenkins, director of the Office of New Drugs at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said. “Today’s approval significantly broadens the availability of targeted treatments for the specific defects that cause cystic fibrosis.”

The FDA approved Orkambi after a priority review, which is conducted in a shorter time than most reviews for drugs the agency believes can offer significant safety and efficacy improvements over currently available drugs. 

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