September 2020 - Being your own boss, and acting on your vision is not something every pharmacist gets to achieve. For Adam Silvertown, pharmacist and owner of Pace Pharmacy, it took spending a few years working for someone else to realize that he wanted to be the master of his destiny.
“I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be my own boss so that I could make decisions about how to improve my professional practice and my customer's experience,” says Silvertown. He recognized that he could build a practice that gave patients a customized experience when it came to medication management.
He opened Pace Pharmacy in 2010 in Toronto, with the goal of providing a pharmacy experience that people couldn’t get anywhere else, be it through customer services or specific medications. One of the key differentiators was in having a small lab in the pharmacy so he could offer compounding services. “Many patients do very well on regular manufactured drugs but many patients also have a hard time finding certain types of treatments,” he says. “Patients have come to us after being unable to get the help they need at their local pharmacy and have been impressed when we say that we can help them.”
Silvertown and his team have found that doses often need to be changed because the commercially available strength of medication is either too low or too high. By being able to tweak or adjust a medication dose they can provide the therapeutic effect while minimizing the additional side effects.
“We started doing a lot of compounding and working closely with physicians locally and across Canada, and they became a resource, sending patients to us for certain compounds. Once the patients came and we gave them a good experience, it was an overall positive experience for the triad of compounding: the pharmacist, patient, and prescriber,” says Silvertown.
Over the years, he and his team have developed a positive reputation for being able to help patients who have a hard time getting appropriate treatment to achieve positive outcomes. As for the cost, the time spent compounding is factored into the cost of the medication.
“Those who know compounding know that it's not an inexpensive activity,” says Silvertown. “There's a lot of things involved, especially nowadays that the regulations have changed significantly in the last couple years. I'm happy for the stricter guidelines as they’re helping improve the quality of compounding and safety for patients.”
Now in their 11th year, Pace Pharmacy has a second location in Toronto and more than 20 employees between the two stores. While compounding is an integral service, it's by no means the only one. There are also all the essental pharmacy services, including free prescription delivery.
For Silvertown, his main takeaway from the last decade is that he has a great staff, and keeping them happy is the key to success. “They work hard and I want them to be happy. Because if they're happy then I believe my customers will be happy and our patients will be happy,” he says. “We'll continue to operate in a way that is in line with the reason I set up the pharmacy in the first place, and that is to be able to have a customized experience for everybody.”