Published On: Wed, Jun 1st, 2016

Onyechi, Lawal task community pharmacists on business sustainability

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As part of its commitment to improving the ethical and entrepreneurial acumen of its members, the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Ipaja-Dopemu-Egbeda-Akowonjo (IDEA) Zone, recently held its 8th Annual Pharmaceutical Business Growth Seminar.

ACPN 8th National Conference

L-R, Pharm. (Mrs) Folashade Lawal; Pharm. (Mrs) Abiola Paul-Ozieh; Pharm. Olateju Olakiigbe; Pharm. Deji Osinoiki; Pharm. Oyekunle Babayemi and Pharm. (Sir) Ike Onyechi at the 8th annual business seminar of ACPN, IDEA Zone

The seminar, themed “Growing Trans-Generational Pharmacy”, was held at Jjag Hall, Shasha, Lagos  and had in attendance eminent personalities and stakeholders in the pharmacy profession.

Dignitaries at the event included Pharm. Deji Oshinoiki, father of the day; Pharm. Olateju Olakiigbe, managing director, Egbeda Pharmacy and chairman of the occasion; Pharm. (Mrs) Folashade Lawal, MD/CEO, Victory Drugs Limited; Pharm. Ike Onyechi, (FPSN), chairman, Alpha Pharmacy and Stores Limited; Pharm. Gbenga Olubowale, Lagos PSN chairman, represented by Pharm. Oyekunle Babayemi; Pharm. Abiola Paul-Ozieh, chairman, ACPN, Lagos State; and Pharm. Madehin Olanrewaju Gafar, among others.

In his lecture which had the same title as the theme of the event, Pharm. Ike Onyechi, who described trans-generational pharmacy as a process of running a pharmacy business that outlives the owner noted that certain factors are essential to making a pharmacy business trans-generational.

“The pharmacy business should be structured in a way that when the owner dies, the business continues thriving, while the family keeps the business going in such a way that the vision and aspirations of the owner is well sustained,” he said, adding that it’s quite unfortunate that only 30 per cent of businesses in Nigeria survive the second generation, with 10 per cent surviving the third generation, and only three per cent surviving the fourth generation.

Using the example of Alpha Pharmacy Limited, the former chairman, West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), Nigeria Chapter, said a business must be built on the right foundation and according to God’s dictate.

He added that pharmacists must have sound knowledge of management, planning and marketing in order to run a successful trans-generational business.

“Community pharmacists must be readily available to give sound, professional advice and to help their clients deal with everyday health concerns and problems facing them,” he advised.

The doyen of retail pharmacy further told participants how Alpha Pharmacy Limited was doing all within its power not to become old-fashioned, saying that he had to rebuild the company’s Enugu Branch, furnished it to taste and moved it to a permanent site.

“Alpha Pharmacy and Stores Limited was founded in 1985 as a small outlet on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, but today, the retail outfit has grown into a large community pharmacy store and a respected wholesaler and distributor of rare ethical products, and presently, it has eight branches strategically located in the north (Abuja), east (Enugu), west (three branches in Lagos) and south (two branches in Port Harcourt) of Nigeria for ease of distribution to numerous customers,” he stated.

Citing companies like Novartis, Samsung, Dangote Group, Deyo Pharmacy and Pharmanews Limited as some of the companies that have positioned themselves to become trans-generational, Onyechi advised community pharmacists to sharpen their skills and knowledge by attending short-time certificate courses as approved by international bodies and government, adding that the role of the pharmacist has evolved from provision of drugs and information to patient care and that pharmacy as a profession has come a long way and must continue to advance.

In his remarks, Pharm. Deji Oshinoiki urged all community pharmacists in the zone to collectively tackle the challenges facing quality health care delivery in the country and ensure they gain back the trust which the public once reposed in them.

Speaking in the same vein, chairman of the occasion, Pharm. Olateju Olakiigbe, said he was delighted that pharmacists in the zone are benefiting what others were not benefiting, adding that the annual business is apt as it affords pharmacists in the zone opportunity to learn from the experiences shared by the personalities who come to the seminar every year.

“The theme of this year business seminar focuses on growth and succession and for me, it is germane because it answers two questions on how we grow our businesses and what happen to our businesses after our death. Many of us are already planning towards this, but we need to be tutored by the experts on how best to go about it, so I am happy that we are now wiser and better informed,” he said.

In her own address at the seminar, Pharm. (Mrs) Mfon Nsese Ufot, zonal coordinator, ACPN, IDEA Zone, explained that the theme for the seminar was very important to pharmacists who always wish that their businesses continue to thrive after their death, considering the rate at which so many businesses crumble after the demise of their owner.

“The annual seminar has become a platform where experienced and seasoned pharmacists are brought to impact members of the zone and the public with knowledge on current startegies and skills required for profitable operations in today’s environment that is becoming rougher by the day. We need not over-emphasize the fact that pharmacists in the zone, as well as the public have always been positively impacted by these semianrs, and this in turn culminates in a better health care delivery system for the general public,” she said.

Also speaking at the event, Pharm. Folashade Lawal who presented the address, “Satellite Pharmacy: Opportunities and Challenges”, disclosed that satellites pharmacy are not common in Nigeria, despite their significance in meeting the needs of certain sets of people.

Speaking further, the Victory Drugs boss reiterated that the roles of pharmacists in the modern world has evolved into full-time patient care, as they now perform roles which medical doctors often neglect.

“We now have a suitable place for discussing confidential information with our customers and patients; we maintain and improve professional performance; we manage patients’ medication therapy; and we comply with national professional obligations, guidelines and legislation, among others,” she said.

She also emphasised that more community pharmacists show interest in establishing outlets in rural areas, noting that provision of drugs and health care in underserved areas is crucial.

“The reason why we should we endeavour to be in the rural areas is that we are needed more there as all Nigerians, irrespective of where they are located have the right to be served by us and these people in the underserved areas are dying unjustly.”

Speaking further, she explained that unlike the urban areas, rural areas are full of opportunities for community pharmacists.

“The opportunities in the underserved areas for we community pharmacists are numerous, as we are going to have access to enough space to locate our pharmacy, easy access to goodwill from people of the community, minimal running cost, less competition, highly profitable and possibly easy access to loan interest,” she noted.

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Onyechi, Lawal task community pharmacists on business sustainability