Home Back Issues August 2011 Independent pharmacies struggle

Independent pharmacies struggle

| Print |  Email
Articles - August 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Article Index
Independent pharmacies struggle
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
0811_Pharmacies_02
Pharmacist Gary Balo has been the proprietor of Paulsen’s Pharmacy since 1978. The store has been in operation in Portland since 1918. // Photo by Eric Näslund

“It takes a lot more effort to stay in business today,” says Gary Balo, the proprietor of Paulsen’s Pharmacy in Portland, a store that has been in operation since 1918. “There’s more paperwork and the big insurance companies make the rules.” But other market conditions, such as an aging population, are more promising. Competing as an independent, Balo says, requires carving out a niche and banding together with fellow owners to boost purchasing power and political clout. In an era of health care reform, it also means convincing consumers and legislators that neighborhood drugstores are not relics of the past, but instead play a role in containing costs and improving patient outcomes. “We provide a service that cannot be matched,” says Balo.

Fein, who writes a well-known industry blog, DrugChannels, puts it more bluntly. “I have a tough-love message for independents,” he says. “Get big, get focused or get out.” The independent pharmacy industry represents a $94 million marketplace and employs about 62,000 pharmacists, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), Although there are no official figures on the value of the Oregon market, there are about 624 retail pharmacies in Oregon, including independents, chains such as Rite-Aid and mass merchants such as Walmart.

To understand why so many independent pharmacists in Oregon chose to “get out” last year, start with the fact that many of the owners were in their 60s or 70s. “It was a huge slide,” acknowledges Diana Courtney, owner of Lake Shore Pharmacy in Lake Oswego and a member of the board of directors for the Oregon State Pharmacy Association. But according to Courtney, many of the pharmacies didn’t close for lack of  business; they closed because the owners were retiring and there was no one to take over. David Swenson, the former owner of Bandon Pharmacy in Bandon, one of the 64 that closed over the past two years, is a case in point. Swenson, 73, spent the last eight years trying to sell his store — to no avail, although he did manage to sell his inventory to another Bandon pharmacy, Tiffany’s. “There’s a glut of us on the market,” he says.

Why? Certainly, the economy played a role. So did the workplace benefits, or the lack thereof, according to Swenson. “If you work for a chain, you get time off and paid vacations,” he says. “With independents, you don’t get that.”

 



 

Comments   

 
James
0 #1 Oregon bought into an invalid method to calculate Acquisition costJames 2011-09-23 09:53:28
Myers & Stauffer conducts a survey approach to determine pharmacist acquisition cost which is invalid by the time the information is collected, compiled and reported. It is skewed in the direction of the chain pharmacies because they report 2/3 of the data. Why not use a real-time system that costs the state almost nothing. Just go to www.pharmabayonline.com
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...

OB Video: Dress for Success

News
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
DFSOBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.


Read more...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


Read more...

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


Read more...

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

Green Endeavor cleans up

News
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
080614 ULnew greenendeavorBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS