University of Arizona


John E. Murphy, Pharm.D.

Program Description

Prof. John Murphy, Pharm.D., Department Head/Chair of the University of Arizona's Pharmacy Practice department recently initiated a plan for an entrepreneurial curriculum with the full support of his dean, J. Lyle Bootman, Ph.D. The University of Arizona has developed a joint Pharm.D./MBA program, "one of the desires being the This would include educating and training people who can own and develop their own pharmacies, become leaders in industry (chain and pharmaceutical), direct health-system pharmacies, etc."

When asked if he believed working in retail pharmacy setting was discouraged in the schools of pharmacy, Murphy said no. "I don't perceive any reluctance. What is needed are people with expertise." Murphy said entrepreneur faculty is in short supply and creative partnerships may improve these circumstances. "The pharmacy world doesn't really create many entrepreneur faculty. The University of Mississippi and a few other programs do the most education of graduate students in that area, but overall the focus on learning to be an entrepreneur is pretty weak. Thus, it is probably important for a college of pharmacy wishing to move in this direction to partner with the business college and with proven successful entrepreneurs. An alternative is to hire faculty with business skills developed outside of their education," concluded Murphy. potential for greater entrepreneurial activity among our students," said Murphy."

Student Awareness and Attitudes

"Students expressed considerable desire for the program when it was explained. Initial obstacles occurred in developing the collaboration with the business college, but these were overcome," said Murphy. "They also see the benefits of having health professionals mixing with other business interest areas."

Murphy agreed with most of the respondents who said they felt the initial high salaries new practitioners can earn may blunt a student's desire for ownership. "I do believe that this statement is essentially correct. It has also been correct for a long time. Starting one's own business is not easy. Most of the people I know who went into pharmacy ownership had a direct mentoring/working relationship with an owner."

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