The aspiration driving your decision to venture into the pharmacy business is to establish a “profitable business.” When it comes to building a pharmacy business that generates profit, the most challenging aspect for many business owners is understanding precisely what steps to take to achieve their goals. Running a pharmacy can be demanding due to the extensive hours and hard work required, but that’s par for the course.
Merely possessing a strong pharmaceutical knowledge base is insufficient for effectively managing a pharmacy business. Here are a couple of factors that can contribute to the continued relevance of your business:
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Customers are likely to return to your pharmacy for the following reasons:
A charming, friendly, and knowledgeable staff that offers quality service.
Maintaining a well-stocked inventory.
Keeping records of customers and their recurring medications, and reminding them to refill their prescriptions on a monthly basis.
Providing attractive discounts compared to competitors.
While the primary purpose of your business is to provide pharmaceutical products or services to your clients, it’s crucial to ask yourself what sets your business apart from the numerous other pharmacies in your vicinity. Brands leverage their image and reputation to attract customers, shape their opinions, and persuade them to believe that the brand possesses exceptional qualities.
Here’s how brands are built:
Established pharmacy outlets naturally gain recognition and client trust over time.
Pharmacies can utilize social media and other online platforms to foster a sense of community and belonging, thereby enhancing customers’ connection to the brand and their likelihood of supporting it.
The pricing and bundling of your products significantly impact your pharmacy business. Pricing varies depending on your location and the type of business you operate, such as being a wholesaler or a retailer.
A wholesaler typically offers lower prices but sells products in bulk, while a retailer may have slightly higher prices but sells in smaller quantities.
Price, like money, communicates and influences perceptions. Customers associate higher prices with better quality. This is why some customers may choose a branded drug over a generic one, even though both have similar efficacy, simply because of the price difference.
Clients might select a more expensive pharmacy assuming that the services provided are top-notch. Therefore, avoid setting high prices while delivering mediocre services. Similarly, don’t underprice your products just to compete; understand the value you offer.
Price impacts the customer’s experience with a service. The price of a service shapes the expectations, perceptions, and overall experience of the prospect or client. Remember, don’t overprice your products arbitrarily; ensure that customers derive value from their purchase.
As previously mentioned, price communicates expectations to customers. Your presentation consists of cues from which people draw conclusions.
What message are you conveying to your customers regarding what they should expect from your business?
A pleasant ambiance can attract customers. This encompasses aspects such as the attire of your staff, the design and arrangement of your pharmacy, and how you package your medicines. Clean and well-stocked shelves, along with neatly arranged items, make a significant impact. Even something as simple as well-labeled medicine can go a long way in creating a memorable experience for your clients.
To enhance your service, make it more appealing. Appearance not only attracts but also transforms our experiences.
How can we make people feel better?
Do you maintain good relationships with your staff, suppliers, and valued customers? Do you reach out to loyal customers to show appreciation through discounts, promotions, or simply to check on their well-being?
Business is fundamentally about people. Our success lies not only in making money but also in experiencing the immense satisfaction that comes from serving others. A service truly succeeds when it significantly improves the lives of those it serves.
The pharmaceutical technologist or pharmacist who returns a phone call conveys that the client matters and that the relationship is important. To the customer, the connection matters more than the price of the medicines.
These are elements that fortify your business and shield it from external influences.
Ensure that your business is properly registered with the necessary paperwork, and that your staff is qualified to run the operations.
Keep your promises and maintain consistency. If you state that you are open from 8 am to 8 pm, adhere to those hours. Ensure that your inventory is consistently well-stocked.
Safeguard your business against internal and external theft.
Offer one or two products that you can exclusively market and sell as your own.
By following these guidelines, you can establish a profitable and enduring pharmacy business.
There are two ways antibiotics have effect on microbial cells, it is either bactericidal or bacteriostatic. Bactericidal antibiotics kill the bacteria and bacteriostatic antibiotics suppress the growth of bacteria. The latter is the current situation in the pharmaceutical industry.
My friend, Wanga, who had been working as a pharmaceutical technologist, made a bold decision to resign from his position in order to pursue a degree at Kenyatta University. This educational endeavor required a substantial investment of approximately 2.4 million Kenyan shillings, coupled with additional expenses. Interestingly, I’ve noticed a growing trend among other pharmaceutical technologists who are also opting for higher education, whether it be at universities like Mount Kenya University, JKUAT, United States International University or abroad.
Individuals like Wanga recognize the privileges and opportunities that come with obtaining a degree, although this may not hold true for many other pharmacists currently grappling with unemployment. I’ve encountered pharmacists who have never practiced their profession after graduation, choosing instead to focus on family businesses, while others have practiced for a few years before venturing into clinical pharmacy.
During a recent interview aired on Citizen TV on 23rd March 2023, Dr. Libeya Bethwel a pharmacist shared his disheartening experience of being jobless since completing his studies in 2020. He attempted to establish a facility aimed at delivering pharmaceutical care to patients, but the retail environment proved hostile and unsustainable. Having been out of practice for 12 months, he expressed a sense of despair, fearing that he may never catch up. This illustrates the potential pitfalls of a misguided investment in pharmacy education, which has prompted him and other graduates to explore alternative roles beyond traditional pharmacy practice.
In his class of 75 graduates, only two managed to secure employment with the county government. This raises the question: why are pharmacists pursuing advanced degrees when numerous colleagues struggle to find work? The answer lies in several factors. Firstly, a degree in pharmacy is financially burdensome, especially when considering that the average salary of a community pharmacist or pharmaceutical technologist amounts to a mere 35,000 Kenyan shillings. Calculations reveal that it would take approximately 68.5 months or 5.7 years to repay a loan of 2.4 million Kenyan shillings without earning any additional income. Clearly, the meager compensation offered in the field makes financing pharmacy education a daunting prospect, reserved for those willing to make significant sacrifices.
From the interview, three key insights emerge in contrast to the prevailing situation. First, the cost of a pharmacy degree appears disproportionate to its value. Second, many pharmacists believe that hospitals represent the only viable avenue for providing patient care. Lastly, pharmacists are hesitant to operate community pharmacies or seek employment due to the low income relative to the substantial time and financial investments required for their studies.
Given the burgeoning pharmaceutical industry, it is disheartening and somewhat surprising to witness the prevalence of pharmacist unemployment. Since 2022, there has been talk of a shortage of pharmaceutical technologists, positions that could potentially be filled by pharmacists. So why does this conundrum persist? The complexity arises from several factors:
Pharmacists command higher salaries, and if given the opportunity to manage independent pharmacies, they would hardly increase their own wages.
Working alongside pharmaceutical technicians creates conflicts in terms of pay disparity, as both parties essentially perform similar tasks.
Running a pharmacy demands extensive dedication, long hours, and carries inherent risks.
Consequently, many pharmacists opt for regulatory roles, ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Pharmacy degree holders are also trained to supervise diploma holders and oversee the proper functioning of pharmacies. However, such supervisory positions are limited and primarily found within larger pharmaceutical organizations or distributors. Unfortunately, supervision responsibilities are often assumed by individuals without a pharmacy background, since fresh pharmacist graduates lack sufficient experience.
Regrettably, pharmacists find themselves in a predicament where they struggle to identify their niche within the community. They can be readily replaced, as the market is saturated with experienced pharmaceutical technologists who assume “pharmacist” positions and are even pursuing expensive degrees to qualify for senior roles. Additionally, advancements in technology are gradually replacing many tasks performed by both pharmaceutical technologists and pharmacists. Applications such as interaction checkers, pill identifiers, and others empower doctors to manage medications with minimal assistance from pharmaceutical technologists.
The question of whether a pharmaceutical technologist is on par with a pharmacist is difficult to answer in the Kenyan market. Although pharmacists have received more extensive academic training, the distinction between the two is often only discernible through identification badges. It’s akin to comparing an orange to an apple or Messi to Ronaldo if we were to draw a parallel.
In fact, many tasks traditionally performed by pharmaceutical technologists and pharmacists are being gradually supplanted by modern technology. Consequently, pharmaceutical practitioners need to think innovatively and adapt to these new advancements. Currently, only a few individuals utilize resources like British National Formulary (BNF) and drug indexes. Online pharmacies like My Dawa, Goodlife pharmacy, Pharmaplus, and PharmEasy are already revolutionizing community pharmacies, while applications such as WhatsApp, HealthX, and Livia pose their own threats.
One intriguing development I came across is Mark Cuban’s Cost-plus drug company, which has generated considerable buzz. His unique business concept involves eliminating middlemen and price manipulation, resulting in significant cost savings through a transparent cost-plus pricing model. While the drugs primarily consist of generics, this approach provides substantial savings, especially for patients requiring multiple medications. If such a model were implemented in the Kenyan market, it would likely cause some pharmacies to lose clients who rely on long-term medications as a primary source of revenue.
Nevertheless, we are still far from adopting such radical changes, and it remains uncertain whether this approach would succeed in the Kenyan market. At present, our focus should be on creating a profession that can sustain the lifestyle of a pharmacist while remaining accessible to the general population seeking healthcare. Even pharmacists who shun retail positions, citing financial motivations, will ultimately be compensated through taxes, and the hospitals they work in may suffer from drug shortages.
First and foremost, we must understand the needs of individuals seeking pharmaceutical services—our consumers. This understanding will guide us in developing effective training methods for future pharmaceutical practitioners. Currently, three distinct groups seek pharmacy services:
Patients who first visit a doctor to obtain a prescription before heading to the pharmacy.
Individuals who initially approach a pharmacy and provide an explanation of their symptoms.
Those who contact the pharmacy via phone call or text message.
These individuals seek the guidance of healthcare providers capable of offering solutions to their health needs, which may include:
Addressing general health conditions that can be easily diagnosed and managed through consultation.
Providing advice on existing medications patients are taking.
Offering contraceptive guidance, such as identifying the most suitable contraceptive method.
Providing reassurance to patients on long-term medications, such as those with diabetes or hypertension, who find comfort in receiving regular blood pressure and blood sugar readings.
Assisting clients with beauty products, ear piercing, and other health-related needs.
An effective training program should prioritize the clinical aspect, equipping pharmaceutical practitioners with strong diagnostic and prescribing skills. Upon entering a pharmacy, patients often begin describing their symptoms, expecting immediate solutions. Therefore, training should cultivate critical thinking skills, enabling pharmaceutical practitioners to think creatively. Perhaps we should even consider integrating a pharmacy business with a spa to address pain management.
In conclusion, I propose several suggestions to address the current challenges:
Pharmacy degree programs should incorporate internships and attachments as early as the second year of study. By the fourth year, students should be encouraged to seek employment while continuing their studies.
The exorbitant cost of academic fees should be revised to make pharmacy education more affordable. This could be achieved through the introduction of entry criteria exams or alternative methods.
Training programs should strike a balance between theory and practical aspects, reducing excessive focus on theoretical knowledge.
Pharmaceutical technologist practice should be encouraged as an entry point into the pharmacy career, with opportunities for further professional development. This could be facilitated through a flexible work-school arrangement.
By implementing these measures, we can strive to create a sustainable and thriving pharmacy profession in Kenya, capable of meeting the needs of both pharmaceutical practitioners and the communities they serve.
Do you find yourself fearful of the impending monster? Rest assured, there is a means to reach out to the Pharmacy and Poison’s Board by means of the relevant societies and associations. That is;
The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) is a representative organization for pharmacists.
Kenya Pharmaceutical Association for pharmaceutical technologists.
Flugone Capsules in Short Supply in Kenya, Leaving Many People Without Relief
Flugone capsules, a popular over-the-counter medication used to relieve the symptoms of colds and flu, is in short supply. This has left many people without a way to relieve their symptoms, which can be particularly troublesome during these cold months when colds and flu are more common.
Flugone capsules contain four active ingredients: chlorpheniramine maleate 4mg, paracetamol 300mg, pseudoephedrine 30mg Caffeine Anhydrous 30mg per capsule. These ingredients work together to relieve a variety of symptoms, including runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, fever, headache, aches and pains, and nasal congestion.
The shortage of Flugone capsules is due to a number of factors, including increased demand and manufacturing disruptions. The increased demand is due to the fact that colds and flu are more common during the cold months. The manufacturing disruptions are due to a number of factors, including supply chain issues and labor shortages.
Here are some other options you can consider;
The ingredients in cold and flu products are often similar. We will only discuss a few which are related to Flugone here, but there are many other products with different ingredients available in the Kenyan chemists and pharmacies that you can choose from.
Precaution; It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking these medicines if you are taking other medications that contain the same ingredients.
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Panadol Cold and Flu
Panadol Cold and Flu is a brand of over-the-counter medication that is used to relieve the symptoms of colds and flu.
It contains three active ingredients: paracetamol, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, and chlorpheniramine maleate.
Paracetamol is a pain reliever and fever reducer. Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride is a decongestant that helps to relieve nasal congestion. Chlorpheniramine maleate is an antihistamine that helps to relieve allergy symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing.
Panadol Cold and Flu is generally safe for most adults and children. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking Panadol Cold and Flu if you have any other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.
Here are some of the possible side effects of Panadol Cold and Flu:
Drowsiness, Dizziness, Dry Mouth, Blurred Vision, Constipation, Nausea, Vomiting, Rash Hives Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat Difficulty breathing.
If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking Panadol Cold and Flu and speak to a doctor.
Coldcap is OTC (over the counter) medicines use to manage cold and flu symptoms, sinus headache, runny nose nasal and chest congestion.
Coldcap is available in a variety of capsules, including:
Coldcap Original Capsules
Coldcap Day Time and Night Time capsules
Coldcap Day Time Capsules
Coldcap Night Time Capsules
Coldcap original contains Paracetamol 400mg, Chlorpheniramine Maleate 4mg, Caffeine Anhydrous 30mg, Pseudoephedrine 30 mg per capsule.
Coldcap Night time capsules contain paracetamol 500mg and chlorpheniramine 4 mg per capsule while the Coldcap day time capsules Capsules contains paracetamol 500 mg pseudoephedrine 30 mg and caffeine 30 mg
Side effects include; Drowsiness, Dizziness, Dry Mouth, Blurred Vision, Constipation, Nausea, Vomiting, Rash Hives Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat Difficulty breathing.
If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking Coldcap and speak to a doctor.
Contus 650 Tablet
Contus 650 tablets is a brand of over-the-counter medication that is used to relieve the symptoms of colds and flu. It contains three active ingredients: Paracetamol 650 mg, Phenylephrine 5 mg and Chlorpheniramine 2 mg.
Paracetamol is a pain reliever and fever reducer. Phenylephrine is a nasal decongestant that can be used to treat nasal discomfort caused by colds, allergies, and hay fever. It can also be used to relieve sinus congestion and pressure. Chlorpheniramine maleate is an antihistamine that helps to relieve allergy symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing.
Side effects like mild drowsiness, stomach upset, dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, rarely thickening of bronchial secretions, hypotension, respiratory depression or breathing difficulty, heart palpitations and anticholinergic effects (dry mouth, blurry vision, dilated pupils, increased heart rate, decreased sweating, constipation and difficulty urinating) may occur.
Sinutab is a brand of over-the-counter medication that is used to relieve the symptoms of sinusitis.
It contains two active ingredients: paracetamol and pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.
Paracetamol is a pain reliever and fever reducer. Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride is a decongestant that helps to relieve nasal congestion.
Sinutab is available in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquids. It is typically taken every 4 to 6 hours, as needed.
Sinutab is generally safe for most adults and children. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking Sinutab if you have any other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.
Here are some of the possible side effects of Sinutab:
Drowsiness, Dizziness, Dry mouth, Blurred vision, Constipation, Nausea, Vomiting, Rash, Hives, Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, Difficulty breathing
If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking Sinutab and speak to a doctor.
It is important to note that Sinutab is not a cure for sinusitis. It is only a temporary relief of symptoms. If you have sinusitis, it is important to see a doctor to get the proper treatment.
If your cold or flu symptoms do not improve after taking over-the-counter medications, please see a doctor.
Both piercing guns and needles can be used for ear piercing. However, for professional ear piercing, it is recommended to use a piercing gun as it is a safe, simple, and efficient method.
How to Take Care of a New Ear Piercing
After piercing your ear, you need to take care of it until it has healed.
Here are some simple steps to take care of your ear piercing:
Get a cotton pad or swab and soak it in surgical spirit or aftercare lotion.
Use the soaked pad or swab to gently clean around the piercing area, making sure to cover it thoroughly.
After cleaning, gently rotate the piercing stud 180 degrees in either direction and back and forth.
Don’t remove the piercing stud until the piercing is completely healed.
Repeat this cleaning process at least once a day for six weeks to ensure optimal healing.
Try not to touch the new piercing too much.
Baby Ear Piercing
While it’s possible for babies to get their ears pierced as young as 1 month, healthcare professionals typically recommend waiting until they are at least three months old, as they are still receiving vaccinations at this age.
It is generally not advisable to pierce a baby’s ears, as their immune systems are still developing, and they may not be able to communicate any discomfort or pain. It’s best to wait until the child is old enough to decide for themselves if they want their ears pierced.
How Long Does an Ear Piercing Take to Heal?
The healing time for an ear piercing can vary depending on the individual, the type of piercing, and the aftercare provided.
Generally, it takes about 6 to 8 weeks for an earlobe piercing to heal completely, while cartilage piercings can take 4 to 12 months.
It’s important to continue proper aftercare until the piercing is fully healed to prevent infection and promote proper healing.
Can Ear Piercing Go Wrong?
Ear piercing, like any other body modification, carries certain risks and potential complications. Here are some of the most common ones:
If the piercing isn’t properly cleaned and cared for, bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection. Symptoms of an infected piercing include redness, swelling, and pain.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to the metal used in their piercing jewelry. This can cause itching, redness, and swelling.
Keloids are raised, thickened scars that can form around a piercing site. They are more common in people with darker skin tones and can be difficult to treat.
Some bleeding is normal during and immediately after a piercing, but excessive bleeding can be a sign of a more serious problem.
In rare cases, a piercing can damage a nerve in the ear, leading to numbness or loss of sensation.
Jewelry can become embedded in the skin if it’s too tight or if the piercing becomes infected. This can cause pain and require medical attention.
It’s essential to choose a reputable and experienced piercer, follow proper aftercare procedures, and monitor the piercing site for any signs of infection or other complications. If you experience any of these complications, seek medical attention immediately.
Where to Get Your Piercing Done
Getting your ears pierced can be done in a variety of settings, such as a salon, beauty shop, or even a pharmacy.
For children, or if you are unsure where to get the ear piercing done the pharmacy is the best place to start. However, if you are and adult and understand the process of piercing the choice is yours.
It is important to choose a reputable and experienced location that uses proper sterilization techniques to ensure a safe and successful piercing experience.
Below is a list of pharmacies that do professional ear piercing.
Most towns have pharmacy chain store where you can easily access ear-piercing services, but it’s important to note that not all branches may offer this service. To avoid any inconvenience, it’s advisable to call and book an appointment before visiting the pharmacy.
Here are some of the pharmacy chains you can go to.
Is a chain pharmacy with over 50 branches across Kenya. Pharmaplus Pharmacy offers free ear piercing.
Phone: 0793560460, 0113314018
Goodlife Pharmacy Ltd
Goodlife Pharmacy is a fast-growing pharmacy and health hub and the only one of its kind in East Africa. The pharmacy offers free ear piercing.
Whatsapp: 0715 703 000
Haltons Pharmacy is a chain of retail pharmacies that provides both prescription and non-prescription medications. They also offer ear-piercing services.
Contacts: 0110 139524
Where can you do ear piercing in Nairobi CBD?
New Lemuma Pharmacy Co. Ltd
A modern Community Pharmacy based in Nairobi city CBD. New Lemuma pharmacy offers free ear piercing.