WA-based banner group Pharmacy 777 has announced its intention to go nationwide with a new network model focused on patients and culture

Pharmacy 777 has announced that it is launching the Independent Community Pharmacy Network Model.

But what is this new model and why has it been created?

Managing Director of Pharmacy 777, Kim Brotherson, says it is a patient-focused, culture-focused pharmacy network – an idea that was sparked during a time of change and uncertainty.

“Back in 2010 at the start of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement, we reviewed our business model and asked ourselves the difficult questions: if the pharmacy industry was deregulated in future, would our pharmacies thrive and be relevant?” Mr Brotherson tells AJP.

“At this time, there was also the introduction of price disclosure and it was clear to us this policy would ultimately remove all generic and wholesale margins – historical profits did not and will not represent future maintainable earnings. We realised it was time to embrace the uncertain.”

It was at this time that Pharmacy 777 began transforming its model, he says.

Kim Brotherson.

“In an industry that is preoccupied with selling and discounting product, we moved to focusing on dispensing our knowledge. Subsequently, we made a decision and a commitment to have only pharmacists hand out prescriptions.

“At the time when the industry was decreasing costs, we focused on investing more in our team and culture, increasing the number of pharmacists employed,” says Mr Brotherson.

“We are not a franchise – we are an independent community pharmacy network supported with a business framework.”

 

A new model

So what does this new pharmacy model look like?

According to Pharmacy 777, it is an inclusive, collaborative support network and community of like-minded pharmacists, working together to achieve a shared vision of “enhancing the quality of life within our community”.

“At the core of the model is respect for every pharmacy owner and very different approach… We are not a franchise – we are an independent community pharmacy network supported with a business framework,” Mr Brotherson explains.

“Buying well is good hygiene and important value proposition we believe for all store owners and as the group expands the entire network benefits – there are no ‘clips’ taken by head office, all growth rebates go back to stores and it is crucial that the store owner sees return on their investment.

“Our focus is on a store by store assessment on what more we can do to ensure patient and health care needs are met.  There are no catalogues – we want conversation on health issues, not price.”

He also says the model aims to support and mentor each participating owner and their team through effective transformation to become a health outcome, service-based pharmacy, leading to long-term business success.

“At the heart of the independent community pharmacy model is a focus on culture.  And this is the key for determining the speed at which transformation can occur.”

While Pharmacy 777 has been known as a Western Australia-focused brand, the group has decided to make the model available across Australia.

“We would like this independent community pharmacy network to spread its wings nationwide,” says Jovana Seat, General Manager of the Pharmacy 777 Group.

“A pharmacy owner can expect to see significant positive changes within the first 12 weeks – where foundation to move to a patient-focused, health outcome based offer is provided while tools are given, for the pharmacy owner to embrace the industry uncertainty and build cash flow for longer term viability,” Ms Seat said.

“We understand that the store owner is the ‘culture captain’ of their pharmacy… Hence, the Pharmacy 777 business framework is designed to support and promote the passion of every pharmacy owner.”

 

Sizing up the competition

And how would the model compare to other models, such as the PSA’s Health Destination Pharmacy?

“The key elements of the PSA’s Health destination model are sound. A challenge however is how this model can be incorporated if the culture of a store is catalogues, reducing wages and focus on increasing generic conversion,” explains Mr Brotherson.

“We know that our model is not for everyone,” he said. “Our objective is to share our strategy with a team of like-minded, independent community pharmacy owners and pharmacists who are inspired by Pharmacy 777 vision and who see patients rather than ‘customers’; who want to dispense their knowledge, rather than products, knowing their advice can make a significant impact on a patient’s life; who dare to dream that the future of Pharmacy is not limited to a focus on price, but rather conversations on health outcomes and also want a supportive framework designed to grow their business.”

The group is currently interested in welcoming interested pharmacies into the fold.

“We are ready and interested in talking to pharmacists who share a similar vision, have spirit for innovation, and live with passion for making a difference on a daily basis to their communities,” says Mr Brotherson.

 

Past success

The Pharmacy 777 group has had much success in gaining pharmacy awards.

Pharmacy 777 Nollamara is the current Pharmacy of the Year winner, as well as winning the 2016 award for Professional innovation.

The group’s Pharmacy 777 Whitford City store was the 2011 winner for Excellence in Innovation in Community Pharmacy.

 

This article was published in the March 2017 print issue of AJP.