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Pharmacare Hawaii

 “We began our company by teaching patient self-care. We were ahead of the curve of today’s health care industry, where patients are now encouraged to take more responsibility for their well-being,” says Pharmacare President and CEO Byron Yoshino.

A third generation retail pharmacist, Byron Yoshino and partner Rick Sakurada embarked on a bold venture 27 years ago for the locally owned and operated company, as it faced increasing competition from large Mainland drugstore chains. Pharmacare pioneered a new niche in the state’s pharmacy industry as Hawaii’s  first company to o er home infusion therapies, taking patients discharged from a hospital and providing intravenous antibiotic therapy and other intravenous therapies. Services have grown to include home enteral nutrition services for patients unable to swallow or digest food and Specialty Pharmacy services, to help patients with chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and hemophilia, to receive high cost injectable medication to improve their quality of life.

Pharmacare today is the state’s largest and most diversified pharmacy services provider with over 125 employees − including pharmacists, nurses and dietitians − providing over 35 infusion therapies to Hawaii, Guam and the South Pacific. In the last decade, it has diversified with three divisions, including an expanded retail pharmacy operation, with eight Oahu outlets; and an institutional care pharmacy, providing multiple levels of care outside of the hospital. Retail pharmacy services include on-site immunizations for adults and the state’s only pharmacy specializing in pediatric products and services.

For a second consecutive year, Pharmacare is one of Hawaii’s 2010 Top 250 companies. No small feat for a startup that began in 1983 with just three employees. “People thought we were crazy,” recalls Yoshino, who recognized the new therapies as an emerging trend on the Mainland. Pharmacare had to convince health care providers and insurers that home therapies were safe and effective, adapt hospital equipment for home use, and face growing competition from national providers.

“From the beginning, we always understood the importance of good customer service and focused on the quality of our innovative services to drive our reputation and growth,” says Sakurada, Executive Vice President. “What set us apart is we knew how to run a business and set our sights on growing the company.”

Pharmacare’s enduring entrepreneurial spirit guides its growth, with the addition of the newest retail pharmacy location at Tamura’s Super Market in Waianae and in anticipation of health care reform, the offering of drug plan benefits administration for hospices, employers and unions.

“We are committed to continue our company’s mission to improve people’s lives with quality, innovative and diversified health care services,” says Yoshino.

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Hawaii Business,August