While many people are familiar with the retail pharmacies that are part of the large chains of pharmacies, some may not realize that there are still small-business pharmacies. The pharmacists that work in this environment are known as independent pharmacists.
An independent pharmacy is a stand-alone business, meaning that it is privately owned and not part of a chain of pharmacies. It is a retail pharmacy, available to the public to use for prescription fulfillment. While some independent pharmacists own only one business location, others may have multiple stores or may even own a franchise of pharmacies.
Because these pharmacists are also business owners, it is imperative that they have exceptionally high customer service standards. This is the independent pharmacists’weapon to compete against the larger chain pharmacies. Patrons of an independent pharmacist will likely expect much more personalized care. For students in pharmacy school who are praised for their communication and interpersonal skills as well as for their business acumen, independent pharmacy may be a potential area of practice.
Owning a pharmacy requires one to be attuned not just to the needs of one’s customers but also to the overall business environment. Independent pharmacists may be required to hire personnel and to be familiar with the paperwork required for dealing with insurance companies. While these businesses can be profitable, many think that the new Medicare Part B plan has hurt the independent pharmacist much more than the chain pharmacies. These details are something to consider if one is considering this career path.
For those who are good with people and who have a knack for business, independent pharmacy may be an appropriate area of practice. Pharmacy schools can prepare one for some of the major facets of this job, but some natural skills and instincts will be required.