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

Buy the book

News
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2 03.25.14 thumb bookshopBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Oregon is home not only to many fine writers but also several accomplished small publishers.


Read more...

What I'm reading: Brad Smith & Travis Boersma

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.


Read more...

How to handle the unexpected

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 28, 2014
03.28.14 thumb disasterBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

The next mysterious (or disastrous) event could be one that you or your team might suddenly need to respond to, probably under intense scrutiny.


Read more...

Green eyeshades in the ivory tower

News
Friday, April 04, 2014
EducationCosts BlogBY ERIC FRUITS

The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?


Read more...

Rapid ascent

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4255-2BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Kelly Dachtler, president of The Clymb, redefines outdoor retail.


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 34 Medium Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

Closing the gap: Community colleges and workforce training

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
03.27.14 thumb collegeBY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.


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