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Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by usi, Dec 5, 2005.
Has anybody considered opening a retail Online Pharmacy?
Pros? Cons? Thoughts?
Whether the venture would be ethical or legal depends on how it is set up. The patient's physician needs to be involved in prescribing. Basically, all I can think of that would really be legal would be a mail order service with some online refill capabilities. That already exists, often run in conjunction with insurance companies. I haven't heard of any independent owners doing this. It seems high risk. And, I don't know where you'd go to acquire volume. Plus, how are you going to counsel your patients effectively with restricted contact?
I guess I need to do some reading on what the legal and ethical implications are. I was thinking along the lines of mail order I guess. I didn't use the right words...
Patient counseling would be on the phone I guess...I don't see anything wrong with that. Poison control counsels on the phone on emergencies, so it must be doable.
I am speculating big time, because I never worked in pharmacy before.
I was thinking is a very good alternative to opening a real small business pharmacy.
Thanks for the advise.
Volume is going to be your biggest problem. There are several companies in the space already so you'd have to find a large group of doctors to feed you patients OR go into a specialty business, like diabetic supplies to make it profitable.
If you are a good sales person, I might suggest going around to a few of the retirement communities and assisted living communities and work out a deal to dispense meds on a monthly basis to them. I know of a few people here that run businesses like that and they are extremely successful.
While interning for Walgreens they gave us a tour of their mail order operation in Orlando. The counseling area were computer cubicles where you fielded in coming phone calls. There was also a doctor call area where you spent time phoning doctors to get meds changed over. The third area was on the floor where you verified the meds that were filled by the huge robot system. They said that you rotate through all areas during each month.
The filling area still needed to meet all the federal and state standards. If you want to own a pharmacy, the easiest thing to do is to buy someone else's business. There are way too many hoops to jump through for me.
It's pretty common for animal pharmacies. I'm hoping to visit this one this summer to see how it's set up: Petscriptions.
I think it would be hard to start from scratch because you'd lack: patient base, prescriber base and (most importantly) reputation. You'd need a good business plan.
I agree with Moose that you might need a niche that you could focus on to make it profitable - diabetic supplies, wound or ostomy supplies, etc. I also think it might be more successful in a rural area where patients don't always have quick access to pharmacies by car. You'd need to work out what your delivery plan would be for medications that patients need on an acute basis (like antibiotics). But in this day and age, I'd say it's doable.