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Alexandria, Virginia, November 3, 2003 - In an effort to promote interest in independent community pharmacy ownership, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has established the NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. The goal of the competition is to motivate pharmacy students to create the blueprint necessary for buying an existing independent community pharmacy or to develop a new pharmacy.

The NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition is the first national competition of its kind in the pharmacy profession. The competition is named to honor two great champions of independent pharmacy, Neil Pruitt, Sr., who was killed in a tragic car accident earlier this year, and H. Joseph Schutte, who currently serves on NCPA’s Foundation Board of Trustees.

Pruitt served as president of NCPA, then NARD, during the 1981-1982 association year. At the time of his death, he was serving as a member of the NCPA Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Pruitt grew his company, United Health Services, from a single independent pharmacy in northeast Georgia into a multifaceted health care organization with operations in several southeastern states.

Schutte served as president of NCPA, then NARD, from 1985 to 1986. His career started with owning his own community pharmacy and eventually he owned six pharmacies in Kentucky that provided services for thousands of patients in long-term care facilities in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. In 1995, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Entrepreneur of the Year Institute. He is the CEO and founder of Geri-Med, Rx-Med, and IV-Med.

The award is supported by contributions from the H. Joseph Schutte family, the Neil Pruitt family, and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. The competition was announced at NCPA’s 105th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in Seattle, Washington.

“Many pharmacy students are entrepreneurs and can use their ambition to build a pharmacy practice setting that allows them to daily make a difference in the lives of patients and their families, while making a very good living,” said Schutte. “This competition plants the seeds to first design and then implement a plan for a career as a small business owner.”

“The business plan competition is symbolic of the entrepreneurial spirit that Neil exhibited throughout his career,” said Nancy Pruitt, Mr. Pruitt’s wife. “Neil was also a tremendous advocate for students. He would be very pleased to have his name associated with this competition.”

“Mallinckrodt is very pleased to join NCPA as a partner in the NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition,” said Edward J. Hesterlee, Pharm.D., director, professional and trade relations, pharmaceuticals division. “As a company with a rapidly growing pharmaceutical business, we understand the importance of comprehensive strategic planning. We believe this program, named to honor two highly-regarded past presidents of NCPA, will generate enthusiasm among pharmacy students and inspire them to be creative in identifying entrepreneurial opportunities that will elevate the practice of pharmacy. Certainly it has been an entrepreneurial approach to the practice of pharmacy that has been the cornerstone of the careers of both Joe Schutte and the late Neil Pruitt, Sr.”

“One of the goals of NCPA is to promote independent pharmacy ownership as a means to a more satisfying career,” said Bruce Roberts, R.Ph., NCPA executive vice president and CEO. “We are pleased that the Schuttes, the Pruitts, and Mallinckrodt are sponsoring the business plan competition to encourage students to learn the nuts and bolts of starting their own pharmacy business. We hope many of these students will learn that ownership is right for them.”

The inaugural competition will begin in the spring semester of 2004. A web page posted on the NCPA website will house all of the entry application materials and include a sample business plan.

Students entering the competition must identify a “sponsor/mentor” to assist them in the business plan development. Their mentor can be an NCPA faculty liaison, another faculty member, or a local entrepreneur in their community.

Students will have the spring semester to develop their chapter’s business plan and submit their entry to NCPA. Winners will be announced at the NCPA Annual Convention.

Entries will be evaluated by a panel with experience in pharmacy development, overall business development, practicing pharmacists, an academician, and a representative from the competition’s sponsors.

The first, second, and third place winners will receive a monetary award for the school’s NCPA Student Chapter, a second monetary award of equal value donated to the chapter’s school to support entrepreneurial activities, travel for the top three team members to the annual convention, as well as a plaque.

The NCPA Foundation, established in 1953 to honor former NARD Executive Secretary John W. Dargavel, is a nonprofit organization that provides educational and research support to pharmacy faculty, students, and practitioners, and assists future pharmacists by providing scholarships and low-interest educational loans.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) represents the nation’s community pharmacists, including the owners of nearly 24,000 pharmacies. The nation’s independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains represent a $67 billion marketplace, dispensing nearly half of the nation’s three billion retail prescription medicines.

Deleisa Johnson Vice President,
Public Relations National Community Pharmacists Association
205 Daingerfield Rd Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-8200

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