MSI breaks healthcare mold

Terry Burnside  

DUBLIN, Ohio —In its more than 40 years, Medicine Shoppe International has established a business model that sets it apart.

Owned by Cardinal Health since 1995, MSI isn’t a retail pharmacy chain in the traditional sense, but a system of franchisees operating stores in places as far-flung as the Middle East, Taiwan and India. In the United States, the company has 708 member stores, including those operating under the Medicine Shoppe and Medicap brands.

Recently, the company has made some big changes. Under a plan introduced in summer 2009, franchisees now can have access to MSI’s full range of services while continuing to operate under their original names. Another benefit that has attracted franchisees to join MSI is the ability to tap into Cardinal Health’s comprehensive managed care offering, which can save pharmacies $42,000 to $70,000 per year by ensuring they’re paid every reimbursement dollar owed.

MSI also moved the company headquarters to Dublin, Ohio, from St. Louis, where pharmacist Michael Busch opened the first Medicine Shoppe in 1968, envisioning a franchising system in which the pharmacists ran the business.

“We conducted focus groups and spent a tremendous amount of face time with our franchisees to better understand how we could make our franchisee agreements the most attractive in the industry,” MSI general manager and Cardinal Health SVP Terry Burnside said. “Their invaluable feedback helped us to develop exciting new franchise agreement options that not only offer a reduced monthly franchise fee, but also offer access to the industry’s most comprehensive suite of innovative marketing, operational and patient care programs to help Medicine Shoppe pharmacies build their businesses.”

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