The Business of Pharmacy

In today’s evolving pharmacy climate, there is a large amount of conversation around cognitive services, provider status, and a host of other clinical buzz phrases. Amidst all of this, it is important to remember that before anything else, pharmacy is a business, much like everything else in the country. 

Personally, I love the business aspect of pharmacy. Whenever someone asks me what I like most about my career, my answer is always the business aspect. I definitely enjoy many other things in pharmacy including direct patient care, clinical services, legal/regulatory requirements, and so much more. However, running a business or business unit is definitely at the top of the list for me.

So, what is the “business of pharmacy”? The answer to that question is potentially a never-ending one. Not only are there a ton of things that relate to business in the field of pharmacy, there is also the fact that the business climate across all industries is rapidly changing. With all of the technology innovations happening in the marketplace, the way a pharmacy is managed and operated has to adapt in order to remain competitive.

While being a pharmacy manager may not seem like a difficult job to some, I have discovered that there are many challenging aspects of the job. In order to be a good pharmacy manager (or even a good staff pharmacist), a pharmacist must develop a deep skill-set and knowledge-base. A noticeably significant difference exists between good pharmacy managers and bad pharmacy managers.

Similarly, the same difference exists between good and bad pharmacies, pharmacy districts, and large pharmacy chains. I love analyzing the competitors in both the pharmacy space as well as the overall healthcare space. I listen to earnings calls, analyst days, and whatever other available webcasts I can find. I read reports from experienced industry analysts and follow all news concerning the healthcare industry. This allows me to see an accurate representation of the companies, subsequently form hypotheses for what may not be going well operationally, and determine what the leaders of the companies could possibly do to improve. 

Since there is so much to cover, I have decided to write a series on the business of pharmacy instead of trying to fit it all in one article. I will aim to address individual topics in as much depth as possible and illustrate how they fit into the big picture. Currently, I have over 15 topics I want to discuss, and I’ll keep adding more as I think of them.

Numerous pharmacy management books are available, and I have read a fair amount of them. However, I haven’t read any that provide clear, specific, and relevant commentary on what running a pharmacy (or multiple pharmacies) entails. That will be my goal for this series.

If there are any topics you would like me to discuss, please let me know in the comments.