The National Community Pharmacists Association, founded in 1898, represents America’s community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,000 pharmacies. This year’s 2017 meeting is held Oct 14-17 in Orlando, FL

Video Interview

Live From the Exhibit Hall floor

Brian Nightengale, President of Good Neighbor Pharmacy, shares his thoughts about the independent pharmacy landscape.

Independents’ Unique Position

Likely Landscape in 5 Years

Effective Exit-Planning Strategies

Opportunities for Buyers and Sellers

Pharmacy Ownership Program Features and Benefits

Post Conference Wrap

Array of Awards Presented at NCPA Annual Convention

During the Opening General Session of the NCPA 2017 Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, on October 15, NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, honored Lynn Connelly, RPh, of Medicine Mart Pharmacy in Chapin, South Carolina, as the NCPA 2017 Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year. The award recognizes "an independent pharmacist for exemplary leadership and commitment to independent pharmacy and his or her community."

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Among other awards bestowed during the annual convention, held October 14–18, was the 2017 NCPA Innovation Center Outstanding Adherence Practitioner Award, given to Andrew Finney, PharmD, of Perkins Drugs in Gallatin, Tennessee. In addition, Trenton Jenks, RPh, of The Prescription Pad Pharmacy in Fruitland, Idaho, was named the winner of the NCPA 2017 Prescription Drug Safety Award. Also, David Clark, PD, former Executive Director of the Indiana Pharmacists Association, won the NARD Ownership Award, and Ernest Boyd, RPh, MBA, Executive Director of the Ohio Pharmacists Association, whose leadership and advocacy efforts have helped shape the community pharmacy industry, received the 2017 John W. Dargavel Medal.

At the pharmacy-education level, the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy won the 2017 NCPA Student Chapter of the Year award, and a team from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy won the 2017 Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition.

Nightengale Gauges Independent Pharmacy Landscape

During an interview with U.S. Pharmacist at the NCPA 2017 Annual Convention, Brian Nightengale, President of Good Neighbor Pharmacy, AmerisourceBergen (right), shared his views on the current and future state of the independent pharmacy industry. The primary strategic advantage, he said, for independent pharmacies is their proximity to the communities they serve and the level of care they can offer. "It starts with a focus on the patient," Nightengale said. "Patients are seeking personalized care and the attention that the pharmacist provides."

A shifting healthcare landscape, Nightengale added, can open opportunities for community pharmacists. Pointing to AMA estimates of a coming shortfall of some 100,000 doctors, Nightengale said independents are well positioned to take up the slack. "Ninety percent of the U.S. population is within 5 miles of a community pharmacy. And the independents, because they have more time to give to the patients, are in a really unique position to fill that gap."

What lies ahead for independent pharmacies? "We are at an inflection point with decreasing reimbursements, patients on specialty medications, biologics that are becoming more complex, and continued competition from mail-order networks and other places." There is going to be a need to transform, Nightengale added, through a more dedicated focus on provider status and adequate reimbursement. "Over the next 5 years," he said, "you will see an expanded ability to prescribe and a shift in the payment model with a focus on risk-based outcomes."

With more and more independent pharmacists planning to retire each year, Nightengale emphasized the importance of starting the exit-planning process early to preserve their legacy in the community. "You need data, you need expertise, you need confidentiality," he said, "and you need a trusted partner."

Building an environment of trust is key, Nightengale stressed. "We [Good Neighbor Pharmacy] are not a brokerage. We have a network of interested buyers and we continue to foster that network." He added, "We also have a network of our customers, and we engage in those early conversations around transition or exit strategy. I'm very proud of our Pharmacy Ownership Services and our team of pharmacy acquisition advisors. We have been doing this for a long time."

Four Pharmacy-Ownership Pearls

Independent community pharmacists, says Charlie Le Bon, Director of Pharmacy Ownership Services, AmerisourceBergen, shouldn't restrict their options when contemplating retirement. By utilizing the right resources at the correct stage, community pharmacists can plan for their futures while preserving the independence the pharmacy was founded on—and that patients have come to rely on. He offers these bits of wisdom in regard to developing an exit strategy:

1. More pharmacy owners are thinking about retirement.
More than 37 percent of pharmacists were 55 or older in 2014. The idea of retirement for many pharmacy owners is no longer a distant concept, and early planning is vital to a successful exit.
2. Preserving the legacy is powerful—and possible.
Many independent pharmacies have become local institutions in the communities they serve. They often have long-established patient relationships and loyal employees who are as integral to the overall quality of the care and service delivered as the pharmacist is.
3. There's a new generation of opportunity.
Too often, pharmacy owners feel like the only path for an exit is to accept an offer to sell their prescription files to a major chain instead of first trying to sell their pharmacy whole to another independent owner. They may not realize that the pool of potential buyers is growing every year.
4. The appeal of independence is growing.
In a changing landscape where many chain pharmacies are no longer offering graduates the same lucrative salaries and signing bonuses that they were just 5 years ago, every graduating pharmacist with an entrepreneurial interest represents a future independent pharmacy owner.


What you can expect at this year’s conference

NCPA 2017 Annual Convention Convening in Orlando

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) 2017 Annual Convention is set to open in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, October 14 and run through Tuesday, October 17. The convention will feature more than 30 educational sessions encompassing all aspects of community pharmacies, including tracks that follow the pharmacy front end, expanding opportunities, and the back office. The convention promises many opportunities to network with peers and hear about new, innovative business ideas at sessions, product theatre luncheons, and collaborative workshops.

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Among the many compelling sessions are Saturday's Bridging the Gap From Rehab to Home and Sunday's Implementing Point-of-Care Testing in Your Pharmacy. On Monday, hear about pharmacist-driven strategies for Battling the Opioid Epidemic, and on Tuesday, gather tips for coping with the unexpected in When Disaster Strikes: Preparing Your Pharmacy for Natural Disaster Recovery. Plus, on each day of the 2017 Annual Convention, peruse hundreds of vendors and their latest products, services, and technology in the Exhibit Hall.

Keynotes to Cover Healthcare Reform, Branding Strategies

On Sunday, October 15 at the convention's Opening General Session (CE credit available), hear a president's speech by DeAnn M. Mullins, BPharm, CDE, as well as a keynote address from ZDoggMD (right), a speaker and medical doctor who whose award-winning videos educate and entertain viewers about fixing healthcare. ZDoggMD, also known as Zubin Damania, MD, is a highly sought-after thought leader whose message of bringing all healthcare stakeholders together to create a better system (including fair payment and treatment for pharmacists), scrutinizes readmissions, vaccinations, electronic health records, and much more.

During a 10-year hospitalist career at Stanford University, Dr. Damania won clinical teaching awards while maintaining a side career as a stand-up comedian. His videos have enjoyed viral growth, with over 130 million views on YouTube and Facebook, educating patients and healthcare providers while satirizing a dysfunctional system.

At the Second General Session on Monday, October 16 (CE credit also available), William Espey, Branding Creative Lead, Chipotle Mexican Grill, speaks about building strong brands. Mr. Espey, the driving force responsible for developing Chipotle's unique voice, delivers best practices on branding, values integration, and the power of forging lasting connections with customers. As the innovative, creative marketing force when the company had fewer than 20 locations, Mr. Espy helped Chipotle Mexican Grill grow to more than 2,000 restaurants. Favoring customer-facing advertising, he discarded more traditional marketing approaches while developing Chipotle's unique culture and, ultimately, driving sales and growth..

Annual Convention Schedule at a Glance*

Saturday, October 14
Registration (7 am-8:30 pm)
Concurrent Workshop Sessions (8 am-6 pm)
Student Pharmacists Luncheon (12-12:50 pm)
NCPA First-Timers Reception (6-7 pm)
Opening Night Reception (7-8:30 pm)

Sunday, October 15
Registration (7 am-6 pm)
Concurrent Workshop Sessions (7:45-9:15 am)
Opening General Session (9:30-11:30 am)
Business for Success Student Luncheon
(11:30 am-1:30 pm)
Product Luncheons (11:45 am-1 pm)
Grand Opening of the Trade Show (1:30-6 pm)
Innovation in Community Practice Poster Session (1:30-3:30 pm)
NCPA Foundation Awards Ceremony (4-5:30 pm)
Movie Premier: A Perilous Quest to Save the World's Children (8-9:30 pm)

Monday, October 16
Registration (7 am-6 pm)
Second General Session (9:30-11:30 am)
Product Luncheons (11:30 am-12:30 pm)
Trade Show Open (12-4 pm) (Buffet Lunch 12-2 pm)
Concurrent Workshop Sessions (4:15-5:45 pm)
Pharmacists Advancing Vaccination Efforts Talk Series (8-9:15 pm)

Tuesday, October 17
Registration (7 am-3 pm)
Concurrent Workshop Sessions (10-11:30 am)
Trade Show Open (11:30 am-2:30 pm) (Buffet Lunch 11:30 am-1:30 pm)
Concurrent Workshop Sessions (2:30-5:45 pm)
Closing Night Reception & Party (7-9 pm)

*Not all-inclusive; subject to change

Visit JMI (U.S. Pharmacist) at booth #411.