How To Become A Sports Pharmacy

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Becoming a sports pharmacy is a great way to boost cash-based revenues along with working with people who are passionate about their health. 

Where Sports Pharmacy All Started For Me

I sort of married into sports nutrition and training. While I was an average athlete myself, I married an All-American athlete who had a degree in kinesiology and was a personal trainer. I am also an avid sports fan. As I was growing my first pharmacy and looking to differentiate ourselves in our local market, sports naturally came up in our strategies. 

In our city, we didn’t have any major professional teams. We had several minor league teams, a community college, and a state university. During this same time, we also focused on growing our compounding and functional medicine-based services. I knew these types of services would benefit our local athletes. I set a goal to be the official pharmacy of as many of those organizations as possible. If my pharmacy could be a known partner of the big teams in town, it would be easier to attract the everyday athlete or weekend warrior to my pharmacy. 

Getting Contracts

Every professional team, whether big or small, has a sales office. They are always looking for sponsors and ways to sell tickets. I would recommend starting there if you don’t have any other contact in the organization. Let the salesperson know what you want, and they will help to get you there. 

Most sponsorships are all about money. If Toyota wants to be the official truck of your football team, they just pay enough money to buy it. While you could do the same thing, I am guessing you probably don’t have an extra pile of cash lying around. What you do have is knowledge and expertise that is extremely valuable. You can trade that knowledge.

The Agreement

Each agreement with a team will have a list of things you are giving to the team and a list of items that the team is giving you. Here’s an example of what it could look like. 

ABC Pharmacy Provides:

  • Three pre-season nutrition and supplement education player sessions
  • 20% discount for all organization employees on over-the-counter products
  • Cost-plus $10 for all prescriptions covered by the organization
  • Once a month, in-season player presentations
  • 1-on-1 player meetings as needed
  • Wholesale pricing for team-purchased products

Team Organization Provides:

  • Official Pharmacy designation
  • Four season tickets
  • Use of team logo on Company’s assets
  • One home game per season as the official sponsor with pre-game and intermission activities
  • Company name mentioned in rotation on printed and audio-visual ads

These agreements can vary widely depending on the team and their parent organization. They may need to buy their own sports tape, or they may get it from their parent team. It is essential to be flexible and to ask a lot of questions. Talk to the trainers and the athletes whenever possible and see what they are interested in. 

Athletes Have Problems

While athletes are in great physical shape, that doesn’t mean they don’t have problems. Injuries are the most common ailment, but they can be plagued by infections, headaches, stress, and many other issues. 

In my experience, here are some common sports issues athletes are dealing with:

  • Turf toe
  • Muscle strains
  • Dehydration
  • Joint pain
  • Slow recovery
  • Staph skin infections

In addition to sports ailments, they also commonly dealt with:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritable gut
  • Stubborn athlete’s foot
  • Jock itch
  • Acne
  • Chronic headaches

Athletes are also concerned with achieving peak performance and wellness. These objectives would include:

  • Supplements
  • Nutrition
  • Lab work
  • Genetics
  • Body composition

While some of these items may seem a bit specialized, the typical pharmacist is an expert in most of these areas. Pharmacists are plagued with a need to be a super expert on a topic before they feel comfortable helping someone. You can learn while doing. Pharmacists are fantastic researchers and learners. If you come across something you don’t know, I guarantee you can look it up. 

Compliance Considerations

You have no doubt come across a news article about an athlete being shamed or even banned due to testing for a banned substance. It is crucial if you are advising athletes at the professional, collegiate, or Olympic level that you know which products are allowed or not. 

You can grab the 2021-2022 NCAA document HERE. The World Anti-Doping Agency puts out a list of banned substances you can get HERE. Professional sports teams here in the US can each have their own list. I recommend grabbing the specific list for the sport you are working with. 

What an athlete can or cannot take can depend on timing and when they are in season. For example, there are many products that an Olympic athlete can take when the competition is far away. Still, they could get in serious trouble if caught with those same products during active competition. 

Of course, you don’t have to worry about any of these considerations for your local regular athletes.

Items You Should Carry

While you want to tailor your inventory to your local needs, below are some items to consider carrying and some potential places you can buy them from. This is a short list of what can be a very extensive inventory. If specializing into a sports pharmacy to attract local athletes is a goal, I would recommend creating a sport-specific section in your pharmacy. You can easily highlight your sports pharmacy specialty on social media and online. 

  • Tape, pre-wrap, KT Tape, gauze – I bought wholesale from Medco Sports Medicine
  • Supplements – This could easily be a mile long!
    • Athletic Greens
    • Designs For Health
    • Energy First (the best protein shakes!)
    • Berkeley Life Professional Nitric Oxide
    • Recovery blends
    • Amino Acids
    • Adrenal support
  • Other items
    • Probiotics
    • Anti-bacterial washes (clothes and body)
    • Anti-fungal options
    • Vitamin and mineral blends
    • Food sensitivity and allergy
    • Cortisol testing
    • PGx or Nutrigenomic tests
Let The World Know

Our good old friend marketing is back. To own the sports pharmacy market locally, you must market your expertise and services. I won’t go into marketing details here. Instead, check out our other blogs on marketing. As always, I highly recommend leveraging videos on social media to help make your pharmacy marketing more effective. 

Sports Pharmacy Future

I think there will continue to be massive growth in this area of health and wellness. Not just because of professional sports but also because your average Joe is looking to regain control of his health. While partnering with local high-profile sports teams was great for business, I sold so much more to local weekend warriors. When you create a niche of products and services, you will attract the people who appreciate it the most. Working with athletes of all levels was incredibly rewarding and fun too!

Don’t forget to grab your Pharmacy Profit Ticket before prices increase in just a few days. 

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