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Buying a pharmacy is major undertaking legally and otherwise

Buying an existing pharmacy is usually easier and less expensive than starting one from scratch, assuming you do the right planning, of course. But if you are already familiar with the pharmacy business, you know it will be simple.

Early on, you will want to assemble a team to advise you on tentative research to having a securely established and profitable business. And, again, if you are already familiar with the pharmacy business, you know legal issues will be with you nearly every step of the way.

Comparing business models and new relationships

A consultant with experience in pharmacies as they change hands can advise you on the endless questions, such as whether to go independent (in which case you will have no legal framework supplied by the headquarters of a corporate giant) or become a franchisee (a unique and complex contractual relationship with a franchisor).

A consultant can also help you analyze and compare your potential customer bases. For example, you will need to know the major employers in the area and understand the consequences and legal liabilities stemming from their health plans.

Financing the venture and shopping for businesses

A financial adviser can help you evaluate ways to finance the purchases and other expenses, which will likely involve partnership and/or other contractual relationships.

You will likely keep accountants busy, of course. Perhaps most importantly, you will need a close look at the books of any pharmacies you are thinking of buying. After all, buyers of an existing business need to ask why anyone would let go of a viable moneymaker.

The business’ financial history is likely to involve multiple legal disputes, whether settled or ongoing. The obligations that go with their resolutions will either walk away with the previous owner or transfer to you as the new owner.

Setting up shop and hiring people

It may take time and strategic thinking to start fresh as an existing pharmacy. Changing the business’s name, for example, may help in ways you may not expect right away (but you will need to be sure you do not choose a name that will get you into a trade name dispute).

If an insurance network terminated or denied the application of the legacy pharmacy, or if it had vexing audits from one of the prominent pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), you might need a map out of that wilderness.

If your previous experience included running a pharmacy top to bottom, you know the job involves everything from keeping the linoleum floor dry and the lighting bright (to prevent injuries from slipping and falling, especially among vulnerable people) to maintaining your various licenses as a pharmacy, employer and retail business.

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