BESSEMER, Ala. —Most independent drug store owners will tell you there is strength in numbers, and see the sense in combining their purchasing power and financial resources with other owner-operators. Some 1,300 of them do just that through their membership in American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc.
Based in Bessemer, Ala., APCI is a member-owned group purchasing organization. Its purpose: “to represent the economic and professional interests of independent pharmacy by providing leadership, vision and a collective voice for our members in the healthcare marketplace,” according to the company.
To that end, APCI wields a full arsenal of back-end support programs in such areas as vendor contracting and competitive pricing, bulk purchasing, rebates, circular advertising and front-end merchandising. Its professional staff, led by CEO Tim Hamrick, includes leaders in such areas as sales, professional affairs, third-party contracting, purchasing contracts, and front-end development and advertising, led by Paul Bruno, formerly of Alabama’s Big B drug chain and a scion of the storied Bruno retailing family.
The company’s resource team also includes Bill Eley, director of legislative affairs, who tracks federal and state policy and regulations on behalf of APCI’s retail members, and makes frequent visits to Capitol Hill to lobby directly for the interests of community pharmacy. Through Eley and other staff members, “APCI works closely with other organizations, such as the state associations in each APCI state as well as the National Community Pharmacy Association, to represent the professional interests of APCI members,” noted the group. APCI also maintains ties with more than 45 colleges of pharmacy to reach the next generation of pharmacists.
Through its third-party support program, American Pharmacy Network Solutions, APCI also resolves contract and claims adjudication issues with managed care groups.