October 25, 2010 - The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) is partnering with Live Oak Bank to facilitate the purchasing of independent community pharmacies, an agreement announced during NCPA’s 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition. Prospective owners will be able to more easily apply for the large lump sum payments to make these purchases like publicly-traded chain pharmacies (CVS, Caremark, Walgreens, etc.), which have used their considerable resources to purchase many independent community pharmacies.

Traditionally, lending institutions treat community pharmacies like any other small business and offer financial terms that can be a non-starter for prospective owners. By contrast, Live Oak Bank is a lender that recognizes the pharmacist’s earning power and the value of resalable inventory and prescription files.

The award criteria included commitment to community service, recruiting new members, promoting independent community pharmacy, and advocating legislative action. The selection process was difficult with so many chapters distinguishing themselves.

“Independent community pharmacies focus on patient care and a wide-array of services that their competitors cannot replicate, but it can be difficult for prospective owners to secure financing for these purchases,” said Douglas Hoey, RPh, NCPA Acting Executive Vice President and CEO. “That’s why this partnership between NCPA and Live Oak Bank is a game changer. While Live Oak Bank has been catering to healthcare providers for more than 20 years, now NCPA will use the full weight of its assets to alert potential buyers of this great lending resource.”

“With Live Oak Bank, independent owners can have the potential satisfaction of a lump sum payment while preserving their pharmacy’s legacy of years, even decades, of service to the community,” Hoey added. “This partnership can help alter the trend of many independent community pharmacies being sold to publicly traded pharmacies that have the financial means that are much harder for an individual to access. In essence, the playing field is finally being leveled. As a result, more independent community pharmacies will likely stay independent and the business model that serves their patients so well will remain.”

The genesis for the idea actually began at last year’s NCPA Convention in New Orleans. NCPA member and pharmacy owner Eddie Webman brought Live Oak Bank’s CEO and Chairman of the Board James “Chip” Mahan, and Brian Faulk Sr. Loan Officer/Owner to the meeting to discuss how their financial assistance for independent community pharmacies could be taken to the next level. The ensuing year produced the parameters of the partnership with NCPA. The marketing assets NCPA will use include publications, online resources, faxes, continuing education programs and exhibitor booths at events.

Prominent examples of how NCPA will alert prospective owners of the financing assistance are through the Independent Pharmacy Matching Service, a program and website devoted to bringing independent buyers and sellers together. Also, there is the NCPA’s Ownership Workshop sponsored by McKesson, a continuing education program offered three times a year designed to eliminate all the “guesswork” to become a successful independent community pharmacy owner.

Live Oak Chairman and CEO Chip Mahan acknowledged NCPA’s estimate that over 1,000 independent pharmacies will be sold next year. “It has become clear to us that the major chains are interested only in the customer script count, or customer base, and have priced those independent pharmacy acquisitions accordingly,” he said. “Live Oak Bank has been able to work with buyers and sellers to properly identify the appropriate value for the business, resulting in preserving the integrity of the employee base that will allow the independent pharmacy under new ownership to serve their existing customer with the care and attention that the chains simply cannot match. We fully expect to facilitate over $100,000,000 in transactions in 2011.”

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America’s community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA’s blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.