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OpeningIndependent

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I'm opening an independent pharmacy in 6 months, (crazy I know), and would like some advice on whether it is worth it to join a buying group? I hear they are thousands of dollars to join, is anyone aprt of one and think it is worth the fee? Alternatively, what about a franchise such as Health Mart? I'd rather not have to join one as I have a certain brand in mind and i want to get away from the chain feel, but do they offer much lower prices from the wholesaler, or larger reimbursements? Any other advice on starting up would be appreciated (aside from don't, it's already well in the works). Thank you I'm advance!
 

rockpharm

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I've had my own independent pharmacy for 2 and 1/2 years and there's so much to talk about--I think it would be easier to talk over the phone but I'm not sure if the forum will allow? If so, can a moderator let me know if OP and I can exchange numbers?
 

owlegrad

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I've had my own independent pharmacy for 2 and 1/2 years and there's so much to talk about--I think it would be easier to talk over the phone but I'm not sure if the forum will allow? If so, can a moderator let me know if OP and I can exchange numbers?

I don't really recommend it, but if you do exchange numbers I would at least do it by PM and not on the open forums.
 
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Cee-two

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If you do a lot of compounding, PCCA is worth joining.
 

johnpharm01

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I have worked in a few independents, whats the start up costs?
 

ExpressMaiL

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PCCA is an organization that absolutely takes advantage of individuals who are new to the game. I highly don't recommend joining PCCA. Outrageous startup fee and then maintenance fees for "access" to information that can be found online. If you are on a budget, ie. every independent owner, buy used equipment from someone who is closing down or has recently upgraded their equipment.
 

southpharmindy

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Get in contact with the folks at API www.rxaap.com Don't join any buying group without talking to them first.

They're probably the largest buying group. They also have a PSAO, Arete, that you would be wise to use.
 

ExpressMaiL

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To answer your original question, find someone you trust and know well and then ask them for information. These forums aren't ideal because a lot of people on here have zero experience owning a pharmacy. Working at an independent for an owner and owning an independent are two very different things.

In reality, buying groups need you to join them wayyyy more than you need them. Unless you have a 2M/month gross as a startup, you won't save much from a gpo and therefore you have no leverage because you aren't a "player" yet. There's a lot to be said here but the best way for you to learn is to just experience it. Make decisions and don't look back. Are you starting from scratch or acquiring patients?
 

southpharmindy

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To answer your original question, find someone you trust and know well and then ask them for information. These forums aren't ideal because a lot of people on here have zero experience owning a pharmacy. Working at an independent for an owner and owning an independent are two very different things.

In reality, buying groups need you to join them wayyyy more than you need them. Unless you have a 2M/month gross as a startup, you won't save much from a gpo and therefore you have no leverage because you aren't a "player" yet. There's a lot to be said here but the best way for you to learn is to just experience it. Make decisions and don't look back. Are you starting from scratch or acquiring patients?

ExpressMail Are you suggesting that a startup can do better than buying the majority of their generics from API? I even doubt small, established pharmacies can do that.
 

southpharmindy

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I have worked in a few independents, whats the start up costs?

The biggest cost is not to buy a bunch of inventory. You can open with 10-15k worth of inventory and buy the other stuff as the scripts/transfers come in. Don't listen to the wholesalers that want you to buy 50-100k up front.
 
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ExpressMaiL

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ExpressMail Are you suggesting that a startup can do better than buying the majority of their generics from API? I even doubt small, established pharmacies can do that.
I have accounts with abc and mck. I used to have cardinal when I first acquired a pharmacy and waited for the transition. Pricing is a funny thing because the amount that these wholesalers make is also really crazy. Even across multiple pharmacies buying from the same wholesaler under the EXACT SAME gpo had different pricing for medications. In the end, rebates are very similar and it's kinda like who you select for expired med returns... it doesn't matter.

I actually read the faxes that companies send out when they apply their new pricing contracts. With dispensing fees ranging from 0 cents to 10 cents being the new norm, does the rebate for your generic prilosec 20mg really matter? Are we here to open an independent and make 36 cents for dispensing 90 capsules of QD prilosec?
 

quickpic007

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I have accounts with abc and mck. I used to have cardinal when I first acquired a pharmacy and waited for the transition. Pricing is a funny thing because the amount that these wholesalers make is also really crazy. Even across multiple pharmacies buying from the same wholesaler under the EXACT SAME gpo had different pricing for medications. In the end, rebates are very similar and it's kinda like who you select for expired med returns... it doesn't matter.

I actually read the faxes that companies send out when they apply their new pricing contracts. With dispensing fees ranging from 0 cents to 10 cents being the new norm, does the rebate for your generic prilosec 20mg really matter? Are we here to open an independent and make 36 cents for dispensing 90 capsules of QD prilosec?

When selling out a pharmacy to cvs, wag, rad etc...do they offer real coin or are they joke offers? I'd hate to make 36 cents on legend drugs and have no decent way to sell out.
 

southpharmindy

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I have accounts with abc and mck. I used to have cardinal when I first acquired a pharmacy and waited for the transition. Pricing is a funny thing because the amount that these wholesalers make is also really crazy. Even across multiple pharmacies buying from the same wholesaler under the EXACT SAME gpo had different pricing for medications. In the end, rebates are very similar and it's kinda like who you select for expired med returns... it doesn't matter.

I actually read the faxes that companies send out when they apply their new pricing contracts. With dispensing fees ranging from 0 cents to 10 cents being the new norm, does the rebate for your generic prilosec 20mg really matter? Are we here to open an independent and make 36 cents for dispensing 90 capsules of QD prilosec?

No doubt that chains get better pricing. But I would have to see it to believe it that a pharmacy buying the majority of their products from the API warehouse wasn't making much more money than a store buying straight from the wholesaler.
 

MountainPharmD

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Stay away from McKesson and anything related. The best buying groups for independents are CPA (Compliant Pharmacy Alliance) with AmerisourceBergen and AAP and API (American Associated Pharmacies) (Associated Pharmacies, INC) with Cardinal.
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I would recommend talking to independant owners in your area. Things are very unsettled right now. If something doesn't change in the next year and a half the majority of independents will be forced out of business. Very strange times right now.
 
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ExpressMaiL

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When selling out a pharmacy to cvs, wag, rad etc...do they offer real coin or are they joke offers? I'd hate to make 36 cents on legend drugs and have no decent way to sell out.

Selling an indy pharmacy requires a few things but chains will typically contact you before you even consider selling with letters of interest asking for profit sharing venture or selling 100%.

Some payors give 0.00 cents and send a co-pay of $36 for #90 omep 20mg. That's a winner rx, but when you consider it's a 3 month supply and divide the profit by 3, the number isn't that healthy...

Buy price of pharmacy revolves around number of patients and number of scripts processed, in addition to p&l, surrounding environment etc.
 

imcallingcorp

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When selling out a pharmacy to cvs, wag, rad etc...do they offer real coin or are they joke offers? I'd hate to make 36 cents on legend drugs and have no decent way to sell out.
the question is do they want to buy you or do you want to sell. simple economics and if I was CV../Hellmark I would not buy any stores currently . I would just wait for them to close. I mean isn’t that their plan.
 
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