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ApothecaryRx Provides Exit Strategy for Boomer Pharmacy Businesses; Sustains Service and Communication Structure of Community Pharmacies to Improve Drug Compliance, Reduce Drug Errors
Date:4/14/2008

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Independent community pharmacy owners looking to pursue the pleasures of retirement have a new option for exiting their businesses. ApothecaryRx offers successful independent retail pharmacy owners a smooth and financially viable transition into retirement that maintains the strength and independence of the business -- and an alternative to selling to a national chain drug store.

ApothecaryRx pays fair market value for the assets of community pharmacies, keeps consumer-facing aspects of the business unchanged, and implements sophisticated back-end processes and procedures that improve overall pharmacy operations while reducing overall expenditures. More specifically, ApothecaryRx offers sustained employment at market rates to the previous owner; maintains employment and seniority for all existing employees; maintains the pharmacy name, customer service protocol, and role in the community; upgrades computer systems and technologies to a shared platform; provides a common human resources and payroll function; and leverages the aggregated volume of stores to lower costs.

"Our business model is based on the belief that community retail pharmacies are unsurpassed in their ability to improve prescription drug compliance and reduce the incidence of prescription drug errors, both of which continue to be growing problems in our country," said Lewis P. Zeidner, founder, president and CEO of ApothecaryRx, based in Golden Valley, Minn. "It is our mission to do our part to keep independent pharmacies independent and to sustain what they do best, which is focus on patient care through communication between a pharmacist and patient."

To date, ApothecaryRx has acquired 14 pharmacies through 10 acquisitions, including one location in Illinois, one location in Missouri, two locations in Colorado, five locations in Oklahoma, and five locations in Minnesota.

Benefits to Retiring Independent Pharmacy Owners

According to a February 26, 2008 article in U.S. News & World Report entitled "The Ins and Outs of Selling a Small Business," there are more than 26 million small companies in America and a proportionate amount of those are run by baby boomers. With the oldest 3.2 million baby boomers celebrating their 62nd birthdays this year, retirement is an up-and-coming event for which they are preparing and over which they may be fretting as they try to identify meaningful exit strategies from their businesses.

Historically, independent pharmacy owners have had limited options for retirement. They could sell their business to a large drug store chain for a nominal profit, sell to another pharmacist, or simply close their doors. The first option could still result in the store closing or, at a minimum, in a change of personnel and pharmacy personality. The second option would likely mean a pharmacist with less experience managing a store. The third option meant the end of a long-term community relationship and a failure to leave a lasting legacy.

ApothecaryRx, on the other hand, provides a smooth transition into retirement for independent pharmacy owners that ensures they receive fair market value for their business while sustaining their community legacy.

"The succession process we take community pharmacy owners through is respectful to everyone involved -- the owner, the employees, and the community. Apothecary pays fair market value for the assets of a community pharmacy, but then we allow the pharmacy to remain successful by leaving intact those features and practices that have led to its success," said Zeidner. "As a result, the outgoing owner feels good about stepping away from his business -- a business he may have owned and operated for 40 years or more -- and leaving a legacy of service and care."

According to Zeidner, after purchasing a community pharmacy, ApothecaryRx implements sophisticated back-end operational processes and procedures, including a common IT platform that provides daily analysis of sales, a national purchasing agreement that reduces costs, and a common human resources function to provide better benefits at lower costs. But that's where the changes end. ApothecaryRx makes no outward changes to the pharmacy itself, maintaining the pharmacy name, the store look and layout, and, most importantly, the employees who work there.

"The intent is that every pharmacy we purchase will continue to look and feel like the independent pharmacy it is," said Zeidner. "We've built a business model that boasts the community service levels of independent retail pharmacies and the business sophistication and strength of chain drug stores."

Benefits to Independent Pharmacy Customers

A growing debate and dialogue in the United States today has to do with prescription drug errors -- both at the pharmacy level and the patient level. With more and more Americans taking more and more prescription drugs, pharmacists are often overworked and overwhelmed and patients are often confused and non-compliant.

ApothecaryRx contends that one of the greatest benefits of independent retail pharmacies is their business model of customer care and communication -- a business model based on knowing your customers and their medical conditions and medications and educating them on effective medication use in an effort to increase patient compliance and reduce medication errors.

In the recent USA Today article entitled "Talking to patients could be major safeguard," Carmen Catizone, the executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, is quoted as stating that eight of 10 prescription drug errors could be caught if the pharmacist counseled the patient.

"The fact is, pharmacists at community pharmacies don't need to be freed from dispensing drugs to talk with their customers. Knowing and talking with their customers is part of their business model, part of their success, and simply how they conduct business," said Zeidner. "And it's this attention to and focus on the customer that ApothecaryRx most wants to sustain and support."

According to Zeidner, with an estimated three billion prescription drugs ordered every year in the United States and a recent report from the Food and Drug Administration indicating that the agency will be increasing the number of consumer drug warnings and advisories it issues, open communication between a pharmacist and a customer is imperative. "Communication is one of the surest ways to positively impact the incidence of drug errors and overall compliance."

About ApothecaryRx

Golden Valley, Minn.-based ApothecaryRx, LLC buys and operates strong, independent retail community pharmacies. The company provides pharmacy owners who wish to retire or transition into retirement an alternative to closing their doors or selling to a chain. ApothecaryRx makes no changes to consumer-facing aspects of a pharmacy yet provides sophisticated back-end processes and procedures. The company currently operates 14 community pharmacies throughout the Central United States. To learn more about ApothecaryRx, visit http://www.apothecaryrxllc.com.


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SOURCE ApothecaryRx
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