Access Pharmacy
Oakland, California

5 - Access Pharmacy - PH

Access Pharmacy is a Neighborhood Pharmacy Providing Customers the Personalized Attention Their Health Deserves!

Dan Torbati of Access Pharmacy has many years of experience in pharmacy and has finally achieved his dream of owning his own independent location in Oakland California. Access Pharmacy offers prescriptions, compounding, OTC and RX consultation, immunization, blood pressure testing, delivery and notary public services. IPC had the pleasure of helping with their recent grand opening celebration. After the celebration we had a chance to speak with Dan about his history as a pharmacist and his hopes for the future success of Access Pharmacy.

IPC:

How did you get started in the pharmacy profession?

Dan:

“I’m a graduate of University of Pacific, in 1983. I started working for a chain pharmacy right after graduation and continued for 32 plus years. I started as a staff member and was promoted to manager. I managed 24-hour stores with drive-thru, etc. All those years I dreamed of having my own pharmacy. Every day I said if I had my own pharmacy I would run things a certain way, the way I saw would be best for the customers.

Finally, about three years ago I decided it was time for me to learn how retail independent stores function, so I could eventually open my own store. I retired from chain pharmacy and began working at independents. I worked in a sterile compounding pharmacy, then I started working for another independent in San Francisco and all over the bay area. I tried to see how the daily business ran and how to deal with insurances, attract new patients, and interact with prescribers. While I was gaining the experience, I was also looking for my own space to open.

I found this place, which used to be a pharmacy, I made some negotiations and here I am. I was referred to this location by a McKesson rep and he told me that it used to be a pharmacy and I should check it out. It’s about 45 minutes from my house but it’s not bad compared to the commute I was making before. I was working all over the place for the last three years. I took this place over, cleaned it up and made it the way I wanted it to look. I was able to get my licenses and insurance contracts and we opened it up.”

IPC:

What’s the community like in the surrounding area?

Dan:

“The community is a very diverse group of people, tremendously diverse really. There are a lot of low-income families. People are very friendly and so far, they have been very welcoming. I’m trying to establish relationships with different doctors and clinics and do whatever I need to do to help get the pharmacy some attention in the community.”  

IPC:

Are there any special services you offer? Do you have an OTC section?

Dan:

“I do immunizations, deliveries, shipping, and blood pressure testing. I am licensed to prescribe emergency contraception and Narcan. I am hoping to be able to prescribe birth control in the future.”

IPC:

What would you say the biggest challenge is as an independent pharmacist?

Dan:

“The biggest challenge is the reimbursement. The margin is so low it makes it hard to understand how independents can survive, especially at a low volume. You have to pay out all the expenses and the reimbursement is so low, I think that is the biggest challenge to stay in business.”

IPC:

What would you say the biggest rewards are related to independent pharmacy?

Dan:

“The biggest reward is the one-on-one relationship with the customers. Finding a new patient and giving them service that they haven’t received before. It’s very rewarding when they are grateful for the way they are treated. When you work with people and you have a success story, there is so much satisfaction. Finding a new doctor that wants to work with you or a new patient that wants to use you as their primary pharmacist. The good outweighs the bad, the small rewards are absolutely what it’s all about.”

IPC:

Please feel free to reach out to our teams if there’s anything we can do to help.

Dan:

“You guys helped me out a lot with the grand opening celebration and I appreciate that a lot. It was a successful event and we really owe a lot to IPC for that.”