Gideon Gunn, David McConville and Yet Shen Khor

A dual model for delivering benefits to the community

Balwyn North Discount Drug Store has been serving the local community and beyond for over 30 years. The pharmacy is run in partnership between longstanding member Gideon Gun and David McConville. Yet Shen Khor (Yetti) joined the pharmacy partnership in 2012 coinciding with rebranding of the pharmacy to the Discount Drug Store banner.

The pharmacy works with a dual offering model for the local community– community pharmacy and medication management for aged care. Their medication management business is managed and run from the same premises as the pharmacy; ground floor dedicated to the pharmacy and the first floor to medication management. The medication management business employs four full-time pharmacists, six pharmacy technicians, a couple of admin staff and five drivers in addition to the pharmacy staff.

“This pharmacy has always punched above its weight! Given the location, it services a large number of people” says David, who has been with the pharmacy since 1998. “Providing quality healthcare services to the local community and to aged care facilities is our priority” says David.

David’s role with the pharmacy is to run and manage the medication management business with Gideon. Yetti looks after the community pharmacy and works closely with the banner group. “My focus is to provide the best in medication management for residents in aged care facilities and that certainly is not a 9-5 job!” says David. As part of their commitment to aged care facilities and residents, nursing staff has access to their on-call pharmacist’s mobile phone number. “We are available 24-7 when the nurse needs us” says David.

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Priceline Pharmacy Ararat, Fiona Cochrane

Benefits of regional pharmacy

Before moving to Ararat and starting her pharmacy ownership journey, Fiona worked for over 14 years with a Melbourne based pharmacy. “My previous employer owned over five pharmacies and he taught me everything – from dispensing to running a business. He was very supportive and guided me through the pros and cons of buying a pharmacy business.”

“Rural is a bit of a lifestyle choice, more than anything else” says Fiona. “You have a steady customer base that you see very often and get to know them a bit better than you would in a metro” she adds.
“The biggest benefit is that it takes only 5 minutes to get to work!” she smiles as she goes on to talk about the benefits of working in a regional area.

“It’s a small community and everyone knows each other. It helps when we have to refer the patients to another provider, we can explain to the patients what is going to happen as we are familiar with the service or facility ourselves due to proximity.”

“Another benefit of a regional pharmacy is that I don’t pay as much in rent so I can afford to employ more staff” elaborates Fiona. “I’m a very hands-on owner of the business, so I’m at the pharmacy everyday and I know if things are getting out of hand.  Things get slightly harder for absentee pharmacy owners who don’t actually live in the local community as they don’t understand the real needs of the community” says Fiona.

Focusing on her time working in regional Victoria, Fiona says “I’ve always thought that for pharmacists it’s more rewarding and easy working in regional pharmacy. I understand moving away from the social aspects of city life can be difficult for some but regional pharmacy has its benefits and provides a lot of flexibility.”

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Page last updated 16 July 2019