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Second Act: Opting for the legal way

Bing Wang proves that even when law is your passion, you can’t take the pharmacist out of the lawyer.
6/3/2022
Bing Wang
Pharmacist turned lawyer Bing Wang

Second Act: In this new series, we profile pharmacists who have gone on to pursue other professions, sometimes outside of healthcare entirely.

Bing Wang was 22-years-old when his finished pharmacy school and 25 when he bought his first pharmacy.

Coming from a family of physicians he contemplated going to medical school but opted for pharmacy instead and soon discovered he had a real savvy for business while working in community practice. He started doing consulting for private equity firms and venture capitalists, which he says entirely changed his perspective on what’s achievable. He got involved in cryptocurrencies and real estate and at one point, Wang owned five pharmacies, all of which he has since sold off except for one in his hometown of Vancouver.

“Being involved in private equity and venture capital changes how you see the world and perceive business wealth,” he says. “I really started to understand the value of time…everything’s relative but for me [owning multiple pharmacies] wasn’t worth the work and liability given the return on investment.”

Read: Dream Team: makers of the Rx Bill Genie App

Eager to keep learning, Wang went back to the University of British Columbia where he first earned his pharmacy degree to try his hand at law school. “I found it very straightforward relative to pharmacy,” he says. “Pharmacy is a lot of memorization and material to consume, while law is more conceptual.”

He started an online pharmacy during law school that was eventually acquired by a public company. Soon after he got called to the bar, he was offered a job by Canadian online pharmacy PocketPillswhere he is now one of two full-time, in-house counsels. “I’m the pharmacy regulatory expert, whether we’re dealing with advertising issues or Health Canada or any of the regulatory bodies,” says Wang.

He admits that not everyone was supportive of him leaving the pharmacy profession—especially to provide legal counsel at an online pharmacy. “Whenever you do something new there is trepidation, especially when you’re offering services in a different way,” he says. “But I think there is a misconception that online pharmacy services are inferior to in-person.”

In fact, he is a big advocate for making better use of technology so pharmacists have more time to focus on the clinical services they are best at. “I think down the road automation will allow pharmacists do some amazing things in terms of patient care services.”

Read: Relief pharmacy offers variety, flexibility

Wang has also been running his own firm Meta Law on the side since 2021, where he specializes in web and crypto law, in addition to providing legal services for healthcare professionals. He also writes a regular column for Pharmacy Practice + Business as the Pharmacist Lawyer. 

In looking back, he says he feels like he never really left pharmacy given that he works at an online pharmacy. Plus, having a pharmacist background gives him a unique lens when dealing with clients. “As a lawyer you’re mainly dealing with things from a business perspective but as a healthcare professional I have a more holistic approach,” he says. “I even tend to introduce myself first as pharmacist and not a lawyer.”

Know a pharmacist doing something “different”? Tell us about them. 

Read: Bing Wang: the steps towards pharmacy ownership.

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