Independent Pharmacy Accounting, Pharmacy Growth, Startup Pharmacies

The Bottom Line Pharmacy Podcast: From Zero to Community Pharmacy Hero Featuring Hashim Zaibak

While the path to multi-store ownership may look different for everyone the principles remain the same.  

From his first location in 2011 to over 20 stores in 2024, Hashim Zaibak’s rule for managing multiple stores has remained the same – “I take care of the people who are going to take care of the people who are going to take care of the customers”  

On this episode of The Bottom Line Pharmacy Podcast, we sit down with Hashim Zaibak, PharmD, CEO of Hayat Pharmacy and NCPA Ownership Workshop extraordinaire to discuss how to manage multiple stores, the NCPA Ownership Workshop, opportunities the future of pharmacy with clinical services, being recognized as a provider, and more! 

Join the discussion with us! 

The Bottom Line Pharmacy Podcast is your regular dose of pharmacy CPA advice to fuel your bottom line, featuring pharmacists, key vendors, and other innovators.

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More resources about this topic:  

Article – Multiple Stores and Real Estate Ownership 

Podcast – Startup Sucess with Jarrod Tippins 

Client Testimonial – Managing Multiple Stores 

Article – Growing Your Pharmacy Through Medical Services 

If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below:

Bonnie Bond: Well, welcome everybody to another episode of The Bottom Line Pharmacy Podcast. I know I am personally excited today to have a good friend and founder of Hayat Pharmacy, Hashim Zaibak, who is with us today. We were just speaking multiple times actually over the last few days in preparation for the podcast. You know what are we going to talk about? Scotty, I was telling you we could do a whole series with Hashim. I mean, we could have him once a month. We could talk about… 

Scotty Sykes: Oh yeah, you can fill up the calendar. 

Hashim Zaibak: Thank you. Thank you. 

Bonnie Bond: All sorts of subjects and so we might have to do that seeing how this goes. But for today… 

Scotty Sykes: But anytime we talk about what are we going to talk about we don’t talk we don’t have anything to talk about we always, for anybody don’t know we win these whole every one of these is winged pretty much 

Bonnie Bond: I literally walked in five minutes before we started, which is usually my style, so… 

Scotty Sykes: That’s just the way we do it. But Hashim, we’re glad to have you on and it’s an honor to have you on because I know you are quite a legend in the industry, if you will. I guess we’ll start off, Hashim, you work in, obviously you have Hyatt Pharmacy and the many pharmacies you’ve been able to grow there and your entrepreneurial spirit there. But you also work with the NCPA and the NCPA ownership workshop, which we also work with you there I guess my I guess we’ll just start off with like tell us Yeah, go ahead and interrupt 

Bonnie Bond: Can I just say one thing? Can I just say one thing?  

Scotty Sykes: Sure, feel free to interrupt 

Bonnie Bond: One of the…I’m sorry to interrupt you, but one of my favorite things to ask, Hashim, I mean, if you don’t know about the ownership workshop for the NCPA, they are done usually every trimester. And every time I see him, my question to you is, well, how many stores do you own now? And the number constantly changes. So where are we at? I mean, let’s just put it out there. 

Hashim Zaibak: Hahaha. We’re working on two new stores. That’s going to get us to 23 stores. 

Bonnie Bond: 23 stores. It’s amazing. And so, one of the things that I did mention, you know, to Hashim that I would love, the ownership workshop, he was talking about kind of how he got started in pharmacy and kind of his background, which was super inspirational. obviously, we’ve hit on a lot of hot topics recently in the pharmacy, you know, arena that’s kind of negative or, you know, DIR fees. And then we’ve got, you know, low reimbursements and, you know, people having a hard time. We could go on all day with all sorts of great things that you do and how you are super successful with your stores. But I did want to touch on some of that to tell us and share what you’d like with how you got going with Independent Pharmacy because it was super interesting and inspirational at the last workshop. 

Hashim Zaibak: Thank you. Thank you both Scotty and Connie. Oh, gosh, I said Connie. I’m sorry.  

Bonnie Bond: It’s fine. It rhymes. 

Hashim Zaibak: I said Bonnie. Okay. Okay.  

Scotty Sykes: We have a Connie here too, maybe.  

Hashim Zaibak: You do? Okay.  

Bonnie Bond: Yeah. 

Hashim Zaibak: Well, thank you both Bonnie and Scotty for having me. In the last ownership workshop, I talked about my story from 1992, right after I graduated from high school. I got my diploma and I went to the U .S. Embassy and I applied for a visa to come here as a student. And most of the people, especially if you have a refugee passport, most of the time you get rejected. So I went there and I’m like, let’s try it. And I did get the acceptance and immediately I got the visa, moved to Chicago, went to a community college called Marine Valley Community College in Chicago. And…when I got here, they told me, and this was not true, they told me that if you are not a US citizen, you cannot go to pharmacy school. So I worked with my counselor, Sandy. Sandy was very, very nice lady. She actually got me started with the English as a second language, because I did not speak English when I came here. And then she called the University of Illinois and she…she told them, is that true that you guys don’t accept international pharmacy students? And they said, no, absolutely not. And since then, I started thinking about pharmacy. My father, at some point, he wanted to become a pharmacist himself. So that was always a dream to have a pharmacist in the family. He couldn’t do it because of his circumstances, but I was able to do it and I was the first pharmacist in my family. 

Scotty Sykes: And you haven’t looked back, it’s all just hit the road since then. 

Bonnie Bond: It’s awesome. 

Hashim Zaibak: And I think about… 

Bonnie Bond: And I love how you mentioned at the workshop that that day was sort of pivotal for you too when you kind of applied for the visa. I mean, that easily could have gone a different way, you know. 

Hashim Zaibak: And I tell people, I tell people honestly, I tell people that on that day, the officer who was interviewing me could have easily said, no, he didn’t even have to give any reasons. No, that’s a decision. And then I could have been somewhere else. Maybe I would have been in Gaza today because that’s my hometown. And I would have been in this messy situation in the city, in the Gaza Strip, unfortunately. But I am, I’m on the opposite side where I’m very successful. I have my own business and I’m blessed. 

Bonnie Bond: Yep, it’s awesome. 

Scotty Sykes: So, tell, the next question comes to my mind Hashim is, so you made the journey here, you got into pharmacy school, you got through pharmacy school. How did you get into independent pharmacy and you being a business owner? How did that kind of get snorted? 

Hashim Zaibak: I worked as an employee for about 12 years. I was a pharmacist. I worked for Jewel-Osco, which was an Albertson company. And then it was bought by CVS. So, I became a pharmacist with CVS. And later I became a district supervisor with CVS. So, I managed 20 stores here in Wisconsin. And one day, I was actually having dinner with a bunch of friends and they introduced me to this doctor who’s building his own independent clinic in Milwaukee, close to the downtown area. And he said that him and two other doctors are interested in building this really big clinic, I mean, with 20 exam rooms, and they wanted to put an independent pharmacy in it. I was nervous. I really was. I mean, I did not think I would be able to do it. So, I went, and I read some books about it. I went to visit some independent pharmacists in both Wisconsin and Illinois. And they encouraged me to do it. And then, a few months later, I was able to fill out all the paperwork. And when the building was done, we were there on the first day. And on our first day, we filled about 70 prescriptions. So, when we were there, we were like, “wow, this is gonna be a good story.” That location today is filling about 2 ,000 prescriptions a week. 

Bonnie Bond: Nice. 

Scotty Sykes: Very nice. And that’s something. So, I bet you wish you had, I don’t know if the NCPA ownership workshop was around then, but is that what kind of got you, I guess, involved in that? Kind of wishing you had that as you were? 

Bonnie Bond: Hahaha 

Hashim Zaibak: Only a few months later after I opened my pharmacy, I was introduced to the ownership workshop. So, I signed up for it and I went to the one that was in Minnesota back in 2011. 

Scotty Sykes: ‘11 we were at…that was the first one we went to 

Bonnie Bond: That’s the first one we went to, yeah. 

Scotty Sykes: Beside the mall of America, yeah. 

Hashim Zaibak: It was 2011. Yeah, so I was there, and I was one of the students and I was really impressed, and I was like, this is something I could do. And with the ownership workshop, the nice thing about it is that it’s not clinical. It’s all focused on how to run the business, how to pick a good location, how to look at the financial reports. I mean, before pharmacy ownership I never even looked at the profit and loss statement. I didn’t even know what the balance sheet was. 

Bonnie Bond: And let me tell ya, he is the star of the workshop. You know, we always have the question and answer at the end with all the panelists. Might as well just let him hold the microphone the whole time. It’s like all the questions are for you. 

Hashim Zaibak: I love it. You know, people ask me questions because you know what? They’re nervous. A lot of these pharmacy owners either they’re about to sign a lease or about to start their pharmacy. So, they’re nervous and they want to talk to somebody who was there, and they want to talk to… 

Bonnie Bond: Yep, you’re a real-life example of that. They can relate to you. Yeah, and what you’ve done. 

Hashim Zaibak: And they can say, hey, what challenges have you faced? And honestly, I’m always open. I have faced so many challenges and I’ve failed so many times. Actually, one of the slides in my PowerPoint is about my failures. So I share my failures with them and I tell them, hey, it’s just part of the journey to get to where you want to be. 

Bonnie Bond: Right. Yep. 

Scotty Sykes: What’s one of the biggest failures Hashim that you’ve had and what did you learn from it if you had to pick one? 

Hashim Zaibak: I, you know, there was one time I thought that it would be a good idea to start a staffing agency here in Wisconsin. So, I created a company. It was just called Zaibak PRN LLC. And I thought, oh gosh, we’re going to make a lot of money. Because there was a shortage of pharmacists, but I found out that these big organizations, they don’t like to work with a brand-new business. They already have agreements with those large staffing agencies for emergencies. And they didn’t want to, I mean, I did, I was the only employee in that company. I tried to recruit people. They were not interested because it would mean that you go and work in some of the rural areas and Wisconsin has a lot of rural areas. So a year later, I decided, you know what? I didn’t do my homework studying this. I did not do my homework to find out what the return on investment is. And in order for any business to succeed, three things have to happen. You have to have the passion for it. There should be a need for it. And it should make money. So there was, oh, you have to, you have to make money. Yeah. Absolutely. 

Bonnie Bond: Right. That last one’s important. People don’t realize. It’s the same thing with pharmacy. You gotta make money. It’s gotta make sense. 

Hashim Zaibak: So, what I found out that there was really no need for an extra staffing agency in our area. So, it did not work out. 

Scotty Sykes: Well, you learn those three valuable lessons maybe out of that for sure. What, Hashim, what about the, I guess we’ll get into kind of pharmacy today in 2024. You’ve got a lot of stores, you’ve got a lot of experience. You know, what are some of the challenges and successes you’re seeing right now in pharmacy? And what do you see, I guess, kind of in the future of pharmacy? 

Bonnie Bond: Well, you’re obviously still adding stores, so you feel like it’s still got a good outlook, huh?  

Hashim Zaibak: I think I just I just received a letter from the Wisconsin Medicaid recognizing me as a provider for the first time I’ve been a pharmacist for 25 years and this is my first time getting a letter saying you are a provider now so that’s a big thing that’s gonna open a lot of doors for us working with physicians and being able to bill for some of those services that we’ve been offering for years at no charge. So, now we’ll be able to make money on those services and maybe expand them and then offer them to a lot of other patients. I mean, a simple thing. I mean, pharmacists have always been checking the immunization registry for patients and looking for deficiency and then talking to the patients about, hey, you really need to get this and this and that vaccine. 

Bonnie Bond: Yes. 

Hashim Zaibak: But we never billed for that service because we thought, hey, this is what we’re supposed to do. But now we can, as providers, actually bill for that service and say, I did spend five or 10 minutes looking at the patient’s registry and I found that they are missing one or two. Maybe they need their Shingrix vaccine or pneumonia vaccine. And that’s another service that we can offer. So, it can be a new source of income for the pharmacies. Plus, we are…We recently purchased a clinic here in Wisconsin. So, this is brand new. This just happened. So maybe a year from today, if you have, if you invite me again to the podcast, I’ll be able to tell you more about the advantages, but we’re trying to integrate and see what, how can we make the two businesses work together to improve the outcome for the patient? If whether it is the A1C for the patients who have diabetes, the blood pressure for people who have high blood pressure, the good cholesterol number for people who have high cholesterol. So, we’re working and we’re trying to see what we can do. What can we do, for example, on the adherence side? Now that we have access to both sides, the clinic that’s sending the prescription refills and then the pharmacy, what can we do to improve the adherence for the patients, whether it’s their lysinepril, their atorvastatin, their advir, any of the chronic medications.  

Bonnie Bond: Great, yeah. And I know you do a lot. I’ve heard you mention multiple times when you speak about the different things that you do in your community to kind of help and give back as well. And I think that’s important. Talk to us about some of that. 

Hashim Zaibak: One of the things that I try to do, for example, with the ownership workshop, I go, and I teach other pharmacists about how to open a pharmacy. And then after every workshop, usually we get one or two students who come and visit us here in the pharmacy and I show them, okay, this is a good system to use. When you open this pharmacy, these are the things you shouldn’t be doing or these are the things that you should be doing.  

Bonnie Bond: Yeah. 

Hashim Zaibak: And then locally, A lot of times we try to look for organizations that need help. For example, we work with a nonprofit clinic next door to us, and we work to offer their medication to their patients either at a deep discount or at no charge at all. If the patient cannot afford it, they’re uninsured. We also work with the Diaper Mission of Milwaukee… 

Bonnie Bond: Mm -hmm. 

Hashim Zaibak: Where we actually, every few months we give away tens of thousands of diapers to the community. And they really appreciate it because when it comes to certain services, for example, when it comes to food, there’s a food stamps program where they can get help from the government. When it comes to medication, there’s Medicaid that would cover medication, but there’s nothing that would cover diapers or the cost of diapers. So, it was honestly, it’s one of the best partnerships we’ve had. We also…I mean, in a couple of days, I’ll be going to one of the high schools speaking about why it’s a good idea to become a pharmacist.  

Bonnie Bond: Nice. I like that. 

Hashim Zaibak: And then, yeah, and then later I’m going to the city of Greenfield that’s close by and I’ll be talking about how to prevent falls for the seniors. So, we’re always available and people call us all the time. For example, churches call us or senior centers and they say, “Hey, would you be able to come and talk about diabetes or how to lose weight?” So, we’re always available. Our pharmacists are available, our nurses, and then we also have our marketing team that go with us. And then we’re always talking to them about our services. So hopefully they’ll come and transfer their prescriptions to us. 

Bonnie Bond: I’ve been noticing some of your social media videos and things you’ve been doing lately. I watched one the other night. That was good. 

Hashim Zaibak: We start, yeah, I’m trying to do more videos now. 

Scotty Sykes: You’re a natural, Hashim, you’re a natural. 

Bonnie Bond: Oh yeah. But it was actually, I watched it and not that I don’t normally watch clients and you know acquaintances videos, but you know I actually watched it and learned a little bit about what I was, you know, watched the whole thing. It was very informative. Mm -hmm. 

Hashim Zaibak: I talked about the vaccines and the deficiency of vaccines and in the immigrant community and can I tell you a secret?  

Bonnie Bond: Please. 

Hashim Zaibak: I’m an introvert I really, like this… 

Bonnie Bond: I can be… maybe. 

Hashim Zaibak: yeah, I can go on podcasts, and I can go on videos but that’s not my comfort zone. My comfort zone is just being away from the camera. 

Bonnie Bond: Yeah. So, all this stuff that you’re doing, what time do you get up? What time do you go to bed? Do you rest? Are you? I feel like you’re very busy. I can’t in my mind when people have multiple stores and I work with this, but I still kind of like Jonathan at the workshop as well. Just got a lot of stores. I’m always just, and I’m like, do you, do you just wake up and then your phone just goes off all day? Like I’m just imagining. 

Hashim Zaibak: You know, I tell people, I…  

Bonnie Bond: All these locations. Yeah, you gotta have a kind of a head, a key person maybe in most of these locations. 

Scotty Sykes: You gotta have a right – a good team, right? You gotta have the right team? 

Hashim Zaibak: Okay, usually people who start a business, they’re looking for things. They’re always looking for ideas. So even when I’m off, I’m always like, sometimes in the middle of the night, I’ll send my business partner, hey, what do you think if we should start doing this? Or how about if we do this? And how about this new idea? You have to, but. 

Bonnie Bond: Hahaha! Well, you know, when it comes to you, you have to just go ahead and write a memo. Like, you know, if it pops into you in the middle of the night, you gotta, you don’t want to forget. 

Hashim Zaibak: But see, when I was an employee back before 2011, it was really easy to punch out and just disconnect. I can’t do this anymore. I wish I could. I wish I could, but there’s all, no, no… 

Bonnie Bond: Hahaha! 

Scotty Sykes: Those days are long gone. 

Hashim Zaibak: there’s always, like, you’re always looking for ways to improve the business. And how, like one of the things that I’ve been working on recently is the culture. How can we improve the culture? And how can you motivate the employees? And that’s… 

Bonnie Bond: We have the same conversation. I mean, you want people to realize, especially employees, how much you value them and what they do for the firm and for the pharmacy. And so, we have those same conversations day in and day out. It’s hard. 

Hashim Zaibak: It’s a, it’s a challenge. It’s really is a challenge. And now we’re dealing with the different generations. There is the Gen Z, the millennials, the Gen X, the baby boomers. So, we have to know how to motivate and they’re, they’re completely different, completely. Like the way, the way you motivate a Gen Z is very different than motivating a baby boomer or, or even somebody my age, a Gen X. So, it’s…It’s been, to be honest with you, and especially after the pandemic, there has been a shortage of labor here in Wisconsin. So finding good employees has been a challenge. And then keeping the good employees you have. Because of the shortage, other organizations are paying higher salaries. So, you have to make sure, you have to give them other reasons to stay with you besides the salary. 

Bonnie Bond: Right. You want them to buy in, yeah. 

Scotty Sykes: So, what other things are you doing? What other things are you doing Hashim from that culture standpoint and team building standpoint? How do you guys keep a cohesive team with 22, 24 stores or so? 

Hashim Zaibak: You know, I… You know, at my position, it’s hard for me to, obviously I can’t meet with 160 people once a week or twice a week. So, what I do, I talk to the people who work with me. I take care of the people who are going to take care of the people who are going to take care of the customers. So, I keep reminding them that employees are human beings, they can make mistakes. Cause sometimes we get mad, oh, I can’t believe they did this. And then you start labeling them. Oh, this employee maybe doesn’t have good customer service, or this employee is lazy. But truthfully, they’re just human beings. I mean, yes, they make mistakes. Yes. Maybe sometimes they come late. Yes. Maybe sometimes they have a bad day and they’re not, their productivity is not that high, but at the end of the day, you look at them as a package and you accept them with the total points that they have, the good and the bad. A lot of times… 

Bonnie Bond: Was it you that mentioned at the workshop about having an employee once that or recently that was upset? And I don’t remember the specifics, but you said you just kind of let that person speak. 

Hashim Zaibak: Yes, that was me. Honestly, I’m not… I’m not… 

Bonnie Bond: Yeah, I was thinking it was you. It was really, I really took that home. I was like, that’s a good, and you didn’t do anything or say anything. You just let them talk and then everything was fine. So like, I’m trying to learn. I’m learning. I’m trying to learn from that. 

Scotty Sykes: Bonnie will butt in on somebody talking real fast. 

Hashim Zaibak: I loved, that day, she was extremely upset, like really, really upset. So, I brought her into the room, and she was just talking to, literally for about half an hour, she was talking to, occasionally I would add that reflection and I’ll see like, I see that you’re pretty mad or I see that that person really upset you. But that’s it, I did not give any advice. I did not recommend anything. I did not tell her what to do or what not to do. But then at the end, she was so relaxed. And then she sent me a text message later. Thank you for listening. That’s it. She said, thank you for listening. So, she got it.  

Bonnie Bond: She got it off her chest. 

Hashim Zaibak: And now we’re really good friends. I mean, honestly, we are. We are. So, like she like and honestly, they, she’s one of those people that you really have to take as a package. She’s not perfect, and neither am I. So just take them the way they are. 

Bonnie Bond: That’s right. Scotty and I were just talking about that yesterday. I mean, all of us make mistakes, 100%. Yes. What? 

Scotty Sykes: Especially Bonnie. 

Bonnie Bond: Oh, that’s not nice. 

Hashim Zaibak: Yes, yes, yes. One time, one time, I mean one time, people, I mean, as a pharmacist, I’ve made mistakes. One time I dispensed hydrocodone instead of oxycodone. It was the same milligram and everything. It was just a human mistake. I made it. I caught it, I apologized, I fixed it.   

Bonnie Bond: Yeah, happens. I’m glad I don’t do that job. There’s no telling what people would get. 

Hashim Zaibak: That’s a hard job. It is. 

Scotty Sykes: I don’t, yeah, I don’t wanna, gosh, my mistake would kill somebody, so I’m glad I don’t do that either. 

Hashim Zaibak: It’s a challenge, it’s a challenge. And then looking at the tablets, making sure it’s the right tablet, the right capsule. I wear glasses now with like amplifying glasses that I have to make sure that I’m giving the right capsule or tablet to the patient. 

Bonnie Bond: Are any of your kids going into the pharmacy industry? Are they all doing something different? 

Hashim Zaibak: No, one of them decided to go to law school. So, Jenna is in law school Georgetown in D .C. I know, and my son wants to become a data analytic. So, Ali is in college for data analytics, which is needed. I mean, for the business, it’s good to have somebody who can analyze data and look at spreadsheets.  

Bonnie Bond: Nice. That’s awesome. Well, I was about to say, now that could come in handy for you. 

Hashim Zaibak: Of course, and then and then my third child. Omar, he’s 16 and he said, I guess I have to be the pharmacist. So he’s like, he’s like, I guess I’m the only one who’s left. So, but he said they might do it.  

Bonnie Bond: Oh. So, he may do it then. 

Hashim Zaibak: But to be honest with you, I want them to do whatever they want, whatever they want to whatever, whatever they like to do. Their generation is more about autonomy. Like for me… 

Bonnie Bond: Whatever they want. Yeah, I was just kidding with you. 

Hashim Zaibak: One of the reasons I became a pharmacist is, yes, I did like science and chemistry and biology, but one of the reasons is because my father wanted to become a pharmacist one day and I wanted to fulfill that dream for him. Even if I didn’t think I was going to be the best pharmacist. Actually, I wanted to become an engineer at some point. I really wanted to become an engineer. But then I went to pharmacist school, and I made it. And I… One more thing I want to share with you fun fact I was not a straight ‘A’ student in pharmacy school.  

Bonnie Bond: I find that hard to believe. 

Hashim Zaibak: Before pharmacy school, I was almost a straight ‘A’ student but not in pharmacy school. I was your average student and I made it and so people out there who are Just like me. They were average students. Just let them know there is an opportunity for them to succeed and do great things in life. 

Bonnie Bond: You can still do it. 

Scotty Sykes: Well, you engineered 23 stores, is it? So, you’ve done, you got that little engineering itch, check that box there. 

Bonnie Bond: You’ve done it. And I was gonna say a minute, I’m sure you have a little extra time, and you could always go back. 

Hashim Zaibak: Oh yeah, I know. I’m almost at the age of 50. 

Bonnie Bond: It’s like the movie where the parents go back to college with their kids. I forget which one that’s called, but they would love that, sure. 

 Hashim Zaibak: Yeah. 

Scotty Sykes: Hashim, what do you do when you’re not running the 23 stores and helping others in the community? What does Hashim like to do in his free time? 

Hashim Zaibak: You know, my favorite thing to do is just to bring my kids and my wife and my daughter -in -law into a room and we just talk. I tell them, put away all your phones and let’s just talk for about an hour. That’s like my, we call it the family time. There’s a book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families. And it’s also by Mr. Covey. And that’s one of the things that they recommended in the book, the family time. And since then, that is my favorite thing to do. So I’m not a very outgoing person. Again, I’m one of those people who just like, like if I’m not at work, I like to be home. 

Scotty Sykes: I can second that, but I do work at home sometimes. 

Hashim Zaibak: It’s, yeah, I do. 

Bonnie Bond: I can definitely tell that I’m getting more like that as I age. I used to feel like I had to go, go, go, and now I’m kind of like, I just want to go home. I just want to be home. 

Hashim Zaibak: Bonnie, wait until your kids are older and they go to college and then you’re going to miss them when they’re away. And then when they get married and then you have a daughter -in -law or a son -in -law and you want to spend more time with them. 

Bonnie Bond: Yep, yep, I got one going to college in a few months here, so. 

Hashim Zaibak: Hey, good, good, good. Are they staying in town? 

Bonnie Bond: No. No. They’re leaving me.  

Hashim Zaibak: Ha ha ha ha! 

Bonnie Bond: Yeah, there’s not a whole lot here.  

Scotty Sykes: No colleges in little old Edenton here.  

Bonnie Bond: I mean, there’s a few things, but not, not, no. She’s gonna, it’s about two and a half hours away. Not too bad.   

Hashim Zaibak: Not bad, yeah. My daughter is in DC, so I’d have to fly to, I’m actually going to visit her next week. 

Bonnie Bond: Alright. 

Hashim Zaibak: Anytime there’s an event for NCPA, there’s one.  

Bonnie Bond: I was about to say, are you going to the fly -in? Right. 

Hashim Zaibak: Yeah. So, it’s a perfect opportunity to go and see her. 

Bonnie Bond: Have you been before? I’m sure you have.  

Hashim Zaibak: Oh yes, a few times.  

Bonnie Bond: So, what is your quick take on that? What’s the big hope from this year?  

Hashim Zaibak: Being, it’s always been actually trying to get the, improve the payment models for pharmacies where not everything is controlled by the PBMs. Now it would be really nice to have a system like in other countries where there is no PBMs and the cost of medications are significantly, significantly cheaper than here in the United States because they don’t have PBMs. I mean, a drug like Genuvia that costs almost $20 per tablet here in the United States, you can get it for 75 cents in other countries. The same exact medication made by the same company. It’s a brand name drug, so there’s no generic for it. Yet, it’s significantly cheaper in other countries. And the reason is because they don’t have PBMs, but here with the PBMs, so we’re always trying to lobby to control the PBMs and offer the pharmacist more opportunities to, I mean, really do things that they can do. Pharmacists are trained in pharmacy school to do a lot of great things that sometimes we can’t do because there’s really no reimbursement for it or we’re not recognized as providers. 

Bonnie Bond: Well good luck. I mean, I know there’s a lot of people heading to that event. So, I hope it’s successful.  

Scotty Sykes: As there should be as there should be. 

Bonnie Bond: Yeah. Scotty, that’s Scotty’s big thing is you gotta be a pharmacist. You also have to be an advocate. Yeah.  

Scotty Sykes: You have to be, if you’re a pharmacy owner, you gotta be involved in the politics. It’s as simple as that. There’s no way, there’s no getting around it. 

Hashim Zaibak: Yeah, and honestly, this is something new to me because I came from the Middle East and in the Middle East it’s completely different. It’s a completely different environment. So, it’s nice to be able to express your opinions and share it with other people.  

Bonnie Bond: Right. 

Hashim Zaibak: And hopefully they’ll listen, especially when they listen from enough people.  

Bonnie Bond: I know Mark Cuban has spoken about this topic. A lot of people have, we’re trying to get him on the podcast. So, if he hears this, yeah, Mark, we’re waiting for you. 

Hashim Zaibak: Oh, that’ll be awesome. 

Scotty Sykes: Look, Austins the man. He can get him. 

Bonnie Bond: Yeah, we’re working on it. We hear that he checks his own emails and so we’re gonna try. I hear this. 

Hashim Zaibak: No way, he does? 

Scotty Sykes: That’s word on the street. 

Bonnie Bond: But you know, he’s involved in this topic, so we’re hoping that maybe… 

Hashim Zaibak: He would be a good speaker. I mean, he has a lot of good ideas. He has a lot of good ideas and they, yes. 

Bonnie Bond: You never know. I mean, he’d be right there with you. You know, I’m sure the views would be similar. Mm -hmm. Well, he’ll definitely be the one to get the attention, you know, on the matter. So that’s exciting. But I do hope some changes can come from this and all the other things that people are doing to advocate for that. 

Hashim Zaibak: Absolutely. It’s going to take some time. I mean, I think it’s going to take some time and it’s, I mean, you do one step at a time. 

Bonnie Bond: Yep, that’s all you can do. And just keep adding stores. 

Scotty Sykes: But you mentioned Hashim that you just got the provider recognition there. And I think that kind of opens up the doors for the future of pharmacy, which is more of a community health care center rather than just a pharmacy, but you offering a wide variety of services to a community at easily accessible.  

Hashim Zaibak: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. 

Scotty Sykes: I think that trend is just kind of solidified with what you mentioned earlier. 

Hashim Zaibak: I mean in my opinion, okay, I’m gonna tell you something but I was looking at my memory box and I found an ad from the year 2000 and it was it actually had my picture in it and it was Jewel – Osco and it was saying now you can get your flu shot at the pharmacy for the first time and it said you have to be 50 or older in order to get the flu shot in the pharmacy. And that’s always changed. I mean, now it is very normal to go to the, it’s actually more than 50% of the vaccines in the country are given in pharmacies. So, things have changed. I mean, look how, where we went, where we went from, it was a brand new thing for pharmacists to be able to vaccinate to now where it’s a normal thing for pharmacists to vaccinate. And I mean, in this building here, we vaccinated over 100,000 people during the COVID pandemic. 

Bonnie Bond: I’ll tell you something, another fun fact.  

Scotty Sykes: That’s a lot of people.  

Bonnie Bond: That is. A fun fact since you mentioned being able to get your flu shot wherever, Ollin has our local independent pharmacist come into our office, shoot us up with the flu shot. We don’t even have to stop working. You talk about efficiency. We don’t even see, oh thanks. 

Hashim Zaibak: Good good. And honestly, that’s honestly a lot of… 

Scotty Sykes: On a podcast and I’m getting a loose shot over here. Talk about customer service right there, your local and independent pharmacy. 

Bonnie Bond: Yeah, and you don’t even have to stop working. 

Hashim Zaibak: Yeah, I, listen we as a nation, we know what’s right and wrong. I mean, most people know what’s right and wrong. We know that we’re supposed to eat healthy. We know that we are supposed to exercise. We know we’re supposed to get the flu vaccine every year. But what happens is that we get busy and then there’s temptations and then and then we don’t do the right things and then we get we get mad.  

Bonnie Bond: Right. 

Hashim Zaibak: Why didn’t I exercise? Why didn’t get the flu shot? So what? What Ollin is doing is that he’s making it easy for you to get the flu shot so that you can’t have an excuse and say I was too busy, or I couldn’t get it after work or before work. 

Bonnie Bond: Exactly. He’s smart guy. That guy. That Ollin. 

Hashim Zaibak: Yes, plus that means less call-ins for him. So, there’s more opportunities for you guys to… 

Bonnie Bond: Oh yeah, he’s got his reasons. Scotty and I, our biggest excuse over the last few years has been the times that we haven’t gotten it. I think it was, or you might have been your COVID vaccine. I can’t remember. Both of us have had where we messed up, got the vaccine like 12 hours before we were leaving for a trade show or for some sort of work trip or something. And then we feel terrible. So. 

Scotty Sykes: Yeah. Yeah, don’t do that. 

Bonnie Bond: Then the next time it rolls around where Iland schedules it, it seems like you have to travel like that next day and it’s like, oh. So, you put it off and then all of a sudden you don’t go get it. So, it is nice to have it set up. Convenience is a big deal. 

Hashim Zaibak: Yeah. For example, my dad, my dad is 80 years old, so I tried to give him his vaccines on a Friday. So, he still works with us in the pharmacy by the way… 

Bonnie Bond: What? Ah, I love this. 

Hashim Zaibak: He comes to the pharmacy Monday through Friday, and he puts away the McKesson order every single day in one of the pharmacies. So, I tell him, if you want to get your vaccine, you come on a Friday so you can like just to relax over the weekend. And if you get fever or something, you can still function on Monday. So. 

Bonnie Bond: See? And see, Ollin needs to incorporate that as well. He should do our flu shots on Fridays, Friday afternoons. Then we don’t have it. You can’t say you don’t feel good. Feel bad the next day. Monday you’re good to go. 

Hashim Zaibak: Uh -huh a little bit easier No, no, no. Yes, exactly so 

Bonnie Bond: See, we’re all learning from this.  

Hashim Zaibak: It’s win -win. 

Bonnie Bond: Well, Hashim, we, at the end of all of our podcasts, we could talk to you for hours. So, we’re going to have to have you again on some other topic that I know that you will be so informative about. But at the end of our podcast, we normally have a bottom line. Just kind of a quick summary of what we learned and kind of summarize… 

Scotty Sykes: Bottom line segment. 

Bonnie Bond: The bottom line segment. And I like to go first because that way nobody can take mine. But again, I kind of said it at the beginning, just I love hearing you speak because I think you’re very positive and I love your story and I love that you have done all of this, been so successful through adversity. So, I just want everybody to kind of hear that. Everybody has their own things in their own community and their own issues that they’re dealing with independent pharmacy. Everybody has a different scenario depending on where you are, but that you can be successful just to be positive. 

Hashim Zaibak: If you talk to the pharmacist in the 80s and 90s, they have their own issues. I mean, there’s always issues. So, try not to focus on the problems and be positive. Look for, there’s always an area where you can really be something that’s good for the patient and good for the business too. 

Bonnie Bond: Always. There’s always going to be something. Yeah. Yep, love it. Scotty, are you gonna wrap it up? 

Scotty Sykes: I think what Hashim just said is perfect. I’m not gonna go with that. 

Bonnie Bond: You’re not gonna try to overshadow that. 

Scotty Sykes: I’m not…not Hashim. He’s the legend here, not me. So, Hashim, we thank you so much for getting on and spending some time with us today. And for those listening, we thank you all for listening in and hope if you see Hashim at the trade show or NCPA fly in or anything, make sure you say hello and introduce yourself. He’s one of the nicest, nicest guys you’ll ever meet. So, Hashim, thanks again. And we look forward to seeing you out on the trade shows this year.  

Hashim Zaibak: Thank you so much. I appreciate both of you, Bonnie and Scotty. I appreciate you. 

Bonnie Bond: Absolutely. Talk to you soon. 

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