Due to the severity of COVID-19, mandates forced the shutdown of many small businesses, including some in the health care industry. Many of these businesses, including independent pharmacies, have suffered severe economic hardship due to various safety measures. When the pandemic hit, many of these pharmacies had to drastically and immediately adjust their business models to stay afloat, while others were forced to close up shop for good. Those that remained in operation had to worry about not only keeping their businesses up and running, but serving the needs of their patients and customers while keeping their personnel and staff safe. Fortunately, many independent pharmacies, including Health Mart pharmacies, were able to benefit from McKesson’s RxOwnership, which brings together the unmatched expertise of McKesson with the dedication of its ownership advisors to support the needs of current and future pharmacy owners. Chris Cella, national vice president of RxOwnership at McKesson, says the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 highlighted the importance of RxOwnership more than ever. With the help and guidance of his team, many of these indie pharmacists were better able to take advantage of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) — a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress in late March. Though some small businesses were hurt more than others, all were affected in some way — and still are — and Cella says McKesson continues to help all independent pharmacies navigate through the storm. “Independent pharmacies are really trying to weather this,” Cella says, adding that despite the conventional wisdom that “health care is recession proof,” many pharmacies are still struggling to survive, and McKesson continues to help educate them on how they can best utilize the programs made available to them from the CARES Act.
In particular, Cella points out that indies often operate in areas in most need of a health care provider, such as underserved or rural communities. But RxOwnership does more than help pharmacies understand and benefit from legislation, such as the CARES Act. The program helps those pharmacists looking to buy, start up or sell a pharmacy. Pharmacy ownership transfer is complex and can be daunting for those with Pharm.D. degrees, not MBAs — whether an owner is looking to sell a chain of pharmacies or purchase a new pharmacy business. Since the start of the program in 2008, the RxOwnership team has helped more than 6,000 pharmacy owners through the pharmacy transition/ownership process by working closely with their customers and McKesson field sales, marketing, analytics, and finance to help with nearly every aspect of buying or selling a pharmacy. All of these services and tools, Cella says, are geared to one ultimate goal: to help pharmacists get back to doing what they know and love — and that’s taking care of people.
Even during a global pandemic, Cella notes that pharmacists remain one of the most accessible and trusted of health care providers. “When you see other providers, you have to stay in your car, wait to go in, have your temperature taken,” he says. “With your neighborhood pharmacist, however, you can walk right in, following state protocols. Your pharmacist is always going to be your most accessible provider.”
This post is related to:Buying/Selling of a Pharmacy & Franchising