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_03
Prescription drugs comprise 85% of Balo’s business;  the remaining 15% comes from specialty medical supplies, candy, greeting cards and other sundries. // Photo by Eric Näslund

Bob Coulter didn’t get out — he got big and got focused. Nevertheless, his story also helps explain why community pharmacies are on the decline in Oregon.

In 1983, Coulter purchased Red Cross Drug in La Grande, then 18 years later opened Red Cross Institutional Pharmacy, which exclusively serves assisted living and retirement homes — totaling 250 beds. Coulter says he opened Olive Branch, the Enterprise store, because of the “unmet need” in Wallowa County, which has a population of 7,000 people but only one other pharmacy, located in the Enterprise Safeway. It takes about 3,000-4,000 people to support a single pharmacy, says Coulter, adding that Olive Branch broke even after three months — “a short time for a startup.”

According to the NCPA, about 65% of all independents are in rural areas, and the average owner of an independent pharmacy owns about 2.5 stores. A poster child for independent drugstore owners, Coulter is also quick to identify the rural location as a potential drawback for next-generation pharmacy school graduates. “A lot of it is that people don’t want to live a rural lifestyle,” he says. “This is a geographically isolated county.”

The 21st century desire to live in cities is one of the macro forces bearing down on the community pharmacy industry. The health care marketplace is another. In 2006, for example, the federal government began subsidizing prescription drugs for Medicare recipients under Medicare Part D, replacing what had been a cash business for pharmacies. Twelve months later, 1,500 independents around the country went out of business. Most pharmacists have weekly wholesale drug bills to pay, explains Balo. So in the early days, when Medicare plans took about six to eight weeks to reimburse, pharmacies went under. “For the independent, it’s all about managing cash flow,” he says. Today, most Medicare plans take about two weeks to reimburse.

 



 

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

Kill the Meeting

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.


Read more...

A Recipe for Success

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Two businesswomen, two iconic food brands and one food-obsessed city. We thought this sounded like a recipe for good conversation. So in late August, Oregon Business sat down with Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, to discuss their rapidly expanding businesses and Oregon’s trendsetting food scene.


Read more...

Knight Vision

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Travis Knight wants to release a movie a year. Can he pull it off?


Read more...

Gone Fishing

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LORI TOBIAS

Business has been good to Laura Anderson, leading some to suggest she must be awfully lucky to find such success in a business notorious for failure. But luck’s had little to do with it.


Read more...

The Backstory

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.


Read more...

I Know How You Feel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?


Read more...

Constant Contact

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

To prevent burnout, companies are banning email and after-hours communications. But is the 24-hour workday here to stay?


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