Q&A: Women in pharmacy

Bob Graul, McKesson

McKesson’s RxOwnership program helps independent pharmacy owners, prospective owners and pharmacy students develop a plan to buy or build their own pharmacy. Drug Store News recently caught up with Bob Graul, National VP, RxOwnership, McKesson, to talk about how the program has seen an increase in women pharmacists interested in ownership in recent years.

DSN: What are the opportunities for women in the retail pharmacy landscape?

Bob Graul: The face of pharmacy is changing as the percentage of women pharmacists and pharmacy owners has steadily increased over the past 20 years. We believe these bright, energetic healthcare providers can help propel the next generation of independent pharmacy forward at a time when the opportunities for retail pharmacy have never been greater. Today's women pharmacy professionals, armed with business acumen and clinical knowledge, can help drive greater adoption of innovative technology and clinical services in the pharmacy, elevating the role of independent pharmacy within the healthcare system.

DSN: How is McKesson supporting women pharmacists who are interested in pharmacy ownership?

Graul: In 2008, McKesson launched the RxOwnership program, dedicated to providing independent pharmacy owners, prospective owners and pharmacy students with the tools to help them map out their future. In recent years, the program has seen an increase in women pharmacists interested in ownership, in addition to greater support for women pharmacists within the industry. For example, the APhA Foundation established a Women in Pharmacy Campaign that recognizes the outstanding contributions of all trailblazers, mentors, colleagues, wives, sisters and daughters who have paved the way for colleagues in the pharmacy profession, which McKesson supports.

At ideaShare 2012, McKesson will host its second Women in Pharmacy reception with the goal of increasing peer-to-peer interaction and the sharing of ideas and best practices among women pharmacy professionals. In the future, we plan to collaborate more closely with industry thought leaders to introduce even more social-networking opportunities and education sessions targeted at women pharmacists.

DSN: Can you share some of the unique challenges facing women pharmacists interested in ownership?

Graul: Some of the women pharmacists that we have helped with pharmacy ownership were challenged with learning to balance family life and work life. Not only were they already working full days counseling patients, they were leading full lives outside of the pharmacy, and yet they also needed to find time to plan for a successful path to ownership.

It was rewarding to hear from Nital Patel, owner and pharmacist of Chicago Plaza Health Mart, speak on our RxOwnership panel last year at ideaShare. She shared her experience with McKesson and highlighted the confidence and resources we were able to provide as she made the leap from pharmacist to pharmacy owner. McKesson understands that every pharmacist has different needs and business goals; it’s important that we help them address both.

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