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It’s time to redefine you!

In recent years, Australian health business owners, especially those in the community pharmacy industry, have faced numerous challenges due to ongoing government reforms. One such reform that has been on the top of everyone’s minds lately, and has caused significant concern is the 60-Day Dispensing policy.

Now it’s important to note that this isn’t anything new. In fact, this was proposed back in 2018 as well.

And while this policy presents difficulties for many pharmacies, it’s crucial to remember that the industry has overcome adversity like this before. I for one know this first hand.

When I entered the world of ownership, within months l was faced with the looming impacts of Price Disclosure and the impacts that this would have on our business moving forward But by adopting a growth mindset, and learning from past challenges, we were able to reinvent our business and redefine our value. This ultimately allowed us to significantly grow by millions of dollars, and later exit for 3x the industry multiple.

So the moral of this is not to flex, but to demonstrate from the start of this article that while there is stormy weather ahead. it is your ability and willingness (this is the most important part when it comes to change) to deep dive into truly understanding your business and the community that you serve, and to develop and implement a plan that will determine whether or not you innovate and thrive, or do nothing and simply die.

In this article, we’ll dive into what the implications are of 60-Day Dispensing (otherwise known as Increased Dispensing Quantities), examine the opportunities it presents, and discuss how health business owners can overcome roadblocks, invest in their team, and ultimately thrive in this new landscape.

Understanding the 60-Day Dispensing Policy and its Implications

The 60-Day Dispensing policy aims to change the current prescription dispensing model by allowing pharmacists to dispense two months worth of medication at once, rather than the current one-month supply. Proponents argue that this will lead to cost savings for patients and the government, as well as reducing the administrative burden on pharmacists and doctors. However, critics contend that it could lead to increased medication wastage. Patient safety concerns, and financial challenges for pharmacies.

It’s also argued that existing ongoing stock shortages will also present significant problems for the rollout of such an initiative. Looking across the pond to New Zealand, we can see the impacts of this for medications such as fluoxetine (an antidepressant) which has been recently limited to 7-day supplies to ensure equitable access as a result of very limited stock availability.

Now safety is the number one consideration without a doubt. I cover that more in an e-book which you can get at the end of this article.

But what also matters is who actually benefits from this proposed cost-saving measure, and will the rest of the population not eligible to obtain 60 days’ worth of medication be worse off instead?

Because if you look at those that may not be eligible, they are likely to be:

  • The elderly

  • Those with cognitive impairments

  • Indigenous and Torres Strait islanders

  • Children

  • And other at-risk groups

Now I’m not saying this to be discriminatory. But if you look at the Government’s Guiding Principles for Medication Management in the Community, you’ll note that there are specific programs for these demographics that aim to ensure they are equipped with additional resources for appropriate medication management.

So if they aren’t eligible for 60-Day Dispensing, they aren’t any worse off right? They’ll just keep getting their medications dispensed every 30 days instead.

But take a moment and think about what you may be doing to offset the losses from 60-Day Dispensing. Who will that actually impact?

And how will your community and team respond once the reality of the situation hits?

So in light of these implications, strong leadership and effective team management become even more essential.

Investing in Your Team


The challenges presented by the 60-Day Dispensing policy highlight the importance of strong leadership in guiding pharmacy teams through uncertainty. Pharmacy owners who demonstrate a growth mindset, resilience, and adaptability will be better equipped to navigate these challenges and create a positive work environment that fosters employee engagement and loyalty. This, in turn, can help to reduce staff turnover and maintain a high-performing team capable of driving business growth.

In particular, pharmacy owners and their teams need to pay specific attention to the things that cause significant challenges more so in times of crisis and change. These are a lack of time, a lack of talent, and a lack of tactical integration techniques.I call these the three T’s – time, talent and tactics.

Lack of time:

Health business teams often struggle with time management due to increasing workloads, expanding responsibilities, and the need to stay current with industry changes. Pharmacies, in particular, face increasing demands for patient consultations, medication management, and additional services alongside their core dispensing duties. This can lead to owners and staff feeling overwhelmed and stretched thin, making it difficult to focus on long-term growth strategies and staff development.

Talent leadership struggles:

Attracting and retaining top talent can be challenging for health businesses, especially when there are time constraints from the leadership team. What research shows is that talent want to be engaged and invested in as well. This comes in the form of robust training and development plans from day 1 of their employment. Unfortunately though, many pharmacy leaders themselves don’t have the necessary leadership skills or experience to effectively manage, motivate, and develop their team members. This can result in high staff turnover, low morale, and difficulty in building a high-performing team capable of driving business growth.

Tactically integrating knowledge:

Health business teams may possess extensive clinical knowledge but often lack the skills or experience to translate this expertise into effective business strategies.

This can lead to a disconnect between the services offered and the business’s ability to market, manage, and grow these services.

Teams therefore often struggle with marketing, budgetifig, and performance management, which can hinder their ability to capitalise on new opportunities and adapt to changing industry conditions.

From all of this though, what we do know is that in order to overcome the challenges we face today, and those tomorrow, we need to bridge the gap between our team’s clinical expertise, with the real-world skills required to leverage this knowledge, and use it with an entrepreneurial or business lens.
Because let’s be honest, where did you really learn what you know today when it comes to running, leading or owning a health business?

It would have been when working in a pharmacy.

But for most, our work in a pharmacy didn’t come with a user’s manual. We were guided by the leaders we were exposed to at the time. And through that guidance, we were able to (some better than others) navigate and start to bridge the gap between our clinical skills, and the entrepreneurial skills required to create a successful business.

So what might this look like?

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Redefine Value

Before we answer that question, and knowing that your bottom line is about to take a hit, you first need to define what value you place on yourself, your business, your team, and the products and services you offer to your community.

Now I’m not going to dive into what that looks like specifically here right now.

Instead, I want you to think about what happened when General Practitioners (GPs) encountered the Medicare freeze which rolled out back in 2014. The AMA claims that there has been “$3.8 billion stripped from primary care* since then, resulting in “a primary care system struggling to survive, falling bulk-billing rates and patients waiting longer to access a GP.”

So my question to you is, over the past 10 years, what have you sein that backs up this statement. And when 60-Day Dispensing rolls out, what and how will you redefine the value you place on yourself, and what you give to your community in order to offset this.

Because here’s the hard truth. GPs are now largely mixed billing whereby they offer bulk-billed rates for certain demographics, and private rates for other demographics.

So if that’s been the outcome for GPs in order to remain viable, how are you going to shift the tides in redefining your value. And if not you, then who?

Right now, there’s a race to the bottom. But we all know that doesn’t last. It’s simply not sustainable.

Those that were doing free deliveries are now not. And I’m not talking about the small pharmacies here, it’s the big guys.

So now that you’ve thought about what value you place on yourself, now we can answer the question posed before – what does empowering your team with an entrepreneurial skillset look like that’s going to allow you to implement the changes required to redefine your value, better use your time, redeploy your talent to profitearning activities, and integrate next level thinking within your health business?

Bridging The Gap


Before we round this discussion out, take a moment and think back.

Think back to the time you got into this industry. The excitement you had and all the possibilities of what the future held for you.

Now fast forward a few years. Maybe it’s a decade. What position are you in now? What’s changed? Are you a team leader, or are you an owner? And what’s the experience like for you at that moment? How are you actually living your values each and every day?

Now fast forward to today. How do you feel about where you are at? Those possibilities that you saw – have they come to fruition? If family is your highest value, what are you saying no to in order to live to that value? Can you even say no?

Speaking with pharmacy owners on a regular basis, one of the most common things I hear why pharmacists enter the world of ownership is for “freedom”.

So, if you’re an owner right now, how “free” are you?

Because here’s another truth. There’s only a handful of owners I personally know that could say yes to that question.

In order to obtain “freedom”, sure you could step away from the business and let it run itself. But I have to ask, how well do you want the business to perform when you do this?

Because there are owners out there who simply walk away from their businesses, with little regard of how it performs. And that’s fine if you’ve got cash to burn and really don’t care about the community in community pharmacy.

But if you do care, then you need to ask yourself one thing – if I were to step away from my business tomorrow, what would I need to do to empower my team within the next 24 hours to set them up for success.

Now we all know that’s not going to happen within 24 hours. But it’s an important consideration – what if you couldn’t work tomorrow, what would happen to your business?

So in order to bridge the gap between the clinical skillset your team possesses, and the entrepreneurial skillset and mindset required to overcome the challenges you face today, and to lead your business to greater heights, you need to take action.

What is it that you want to achieve? And in order to achieve that, what we’ve learned, regardless of the goal you set for yourself, is that this requires an investment in your team. An investment to bridge the gap, with the objective of getting your life back.

And while short training courses can provide a temporary boost, they often fail to create lasting change. Think of this like a holiday. You go on holiday, get the tan, feel super energised and rejuvenated. And then after a week, the tan fades, and you’re back into old habits and processes.

Instead, to bridge the gap, your team needs curated training programs specifically designed to impart real-world and tested skills to grow your business. These programs need to draw inspiration from the philosophies of renowned speakers and business coaches, and provide ongoing accountability and a support framework to ensure practical outcomes and true integration of knowledge into daily practice is achieved.

Additionally, these training programs should focus on fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning, which are critical elements for sustained business growth. But also, they need to be about integration and implementation – not just about creating shelf help where the knowledge sits on a shelf collecting dust and not being used.

Finally, effective curated training programs should also address specific skill gaps and provide practical tools for improving areas such as financial acumen, self-care, communication and persuasion, marketing, team leadership, and strategic planning.

Because in conclusion, it’s not a matter of if, but when challenges knock on our door. It might be 60-Day Dispensing today, but who knows what tomorrow might bring.

The point is to be prepared. And we do that by understanding the problem we face, investing in holistic solutions, and taking our team on the journey with us to overcome the roadblocks, challenges and obstacles we face.

So now I leave you with a simple challenge.

Is this the catalyst you need to truly innovate and thrive, or simply do nothing, hoping that you will barely survive?


Zamil Solanki works with healthpreneurs – from individuals to large multi-national organisations – to help them overcome unique challenges and achieve their goals through curated training programs, and tailored holistic solutions. Unlike other coaches and consultants, we pair global research and techniques with our own experiences, having grown our own pharmacy by $4 million and exiting it for 3x the industry average multiple. To do this, we focus holistically using 5 key pillars -mindset, planning, leadership, marketing and sales and specialize in workflow, innovation, automation and systems.

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