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New program helps pharmacists own a stake in the business

FGC's pharmacy partnership program also targets pharmacy owners looking to exit their practice.
Dalbir Bains, president and CEO, FGC Health

Pharmacy and medical facilities owner and services provider FGC Health is advancing its growth strategy with a new program that gives pharmacists financial backing and support towards an ownership stake in a practice or an exit strategy in a pharmacy they currently own.

“The first step is looking at capital needs—can a pharmacist fund this themselves or do they need support from FGC?” explained Dalbir Bains, president and CEO of the Winnipeg-based company, which owns, operates and services independent pharmacies, medical clinics, home healthcare and ambulatory care services. “After capital, we talk about how we can provide our expertise, including our expertise in technology.”

With FGC’s pharmacy partnership program, pharmacists who want to become entrepreneurs or who want to exit out of their practice get a 20% stake in the business. In addition to getting help with capital or a buyout, pharmacists also gain efficiencies and economies of scale because FGC provides back-end technology infrastructure and services such as accounting and payroll, said Bains.

Read: On a mission: How FGC is advancing automated recommendations to improve patient care and pharmacy revenue

Jenni Paynter, senior director, enterprise pharmacy operations development, FGC Health

“They also get the benefits of our network when it comes to purchasing, because when you buy as a group you get lower rates on drugs than a standalone pharmacy,” he added.

Pharmacy partners will also be able to tap into FGC's technology innovations, including recently acquired software that uses data analytics to generate pharmacy services recommendations and to guide interactions with patients.

A key goal for the new program is to increase the number of pharmacy owners who are female, younger and members of minority groups.

“Numbers suggest that if you add up women and younger professionals they account for 65% of pharmacists practising but only 35% of ownership,” said Bains. “We’re trying to tackle this imbalance.”

Read: What's your exit strategy? How to tell when it's time to shut your pharmacy's doors

Jenni Paynter, FGC's senior director, enterprise pharmacy operations development, said entering into an ownership partnership with FGC will fill a gap for pharmacists who are experts in their profession but lacking in business acumen.

“When pharmacists go to school we don’t learn about business and finance,” she said. “So when you join the partnership program you will get support from folks with years and years of experience in business and finance.”

So far, eight pharmacists have joined the partnership program, which is currently available in Ontario and Alberta and will soon be rolled out in Manitoba and B.C., said Bains.

Read: Thinking of buying a second pharmacy? You might want to read this first

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