Although 62% of the first professional degrees in pharmacy were awarded to women in 2017-2018,1 there are only about half as many female pharmacy owners as there are women graduating from pharmacy school.2
Tammy McDonald, regional vice president of RxOwnership for McKesson and leader of the RxOwnership Women in Pharmacy Program, said she sees many reasons why women aren’t becoming owners.
“Many women do not know where to start, or lack the understanding of what’s involved in getting into ownership,” she said. “Women are also unsure where to turn for mentors or resources in general.”
Women make up nearly 57% of pharmacists in the United States,3 and although McDonald said the number of female owners is increasing, they still continue to face obstacles.
“Women are eager to run successful pharmacy businesses, but truly lack the resources to do so,” she said.
Other concerns specific to women in the pharmacy field include financial barriers and work-life balance, McDonald added. Because many women have taken time away from their careers to raise children, they often have less financial opportunities when they are ready to buy or start their own pharmacy.
Work-life balance is a concern that inordinately affects women, but McDonald said ownership can actually make this aspect easier to manage.
“One great benefit of ownership is having the flexibility needed to be there for children, including activities and other important events,” she said. “Of course, that does not happen overnight. It can take time. However, it does happen when you assemble a strong, trusted team.”
Resources for female pharmacists and those looking to become owners can come in unexpected places, McDonald added. Membership in a national, state, or local association can provide educational opportunities, networking with other owners, and chances to find mentors.
Many women wait until the “perfect” time to own a pharmacy, McDonald said, but she added that the current time offers more opportunities for women in pharmacy than ever before.
“Whether they desire to buy or start a pharmacy, there are undoubtedly more opportunities today to get into ownership than have ever existed,” she said.
- Aacp.org. (2019). Academic Pharmacy’s Vital Statistics | AACP. [online]. https://www.aacp.org/article/academic-pharmacys-vital-statistics. Accessed 25 Sep. 2019.
- Interview, Tammy McDonald. July 23, 2019.
- Datausa.io. (2019). Pharmacists | Data USA. [online] https://datausa.io/profile/soc/pharmacists. Accessed 25 Sep. 2019.