The CEO Views: Your Company is a dedicated compounding pharmacy that customizes medications to fit each patient’s unique needs and delivers medicine to their doorstep. How did you come across this unique idea, and how did you take this forward?
Rick Niemi: Compounding has been around since the 1820s, so it is not necessarily that unique of a prescription service. For years, pharmacists have been practicing compounding medications for all kinds of conditions, ailments, and illnesses. Because only 7% of pharmacies within the United States do compounding, that part is a little unique. Medications we compound are patient-specific for a particular strength or combination of ingredients that typically aren’t commercially made and manufactured. We can also compound prescription drugs that are nationally out of stock or widely unavailable.
Valor also can customize the medication delivery method for our patients. An example would be if a patient cannot swallow tablets, Valor can compound a liquid that the patient can swallow instead. The way we work with our customers and patients also makes us unique. We make it easy, save time, and provide low, flat-rate pricing in some prescription medication categories.
The CEO Views: Valor Compounding Pharmacy has been recognized as one of the 50 Best Companies. How was the journey to build your mark in the industry?
Rick Niemi: The success of Valor has been formed from the inside out. With our strong focus on customer and patient care, our service levels exceed traditional compounding pharmacies. Every customer and patient is unique, and so are their needs. Instead of a one size fits all mentality, we customize a service plan for each patient and the medical group we work with. This leads to greater customer satisfaction and ultimately, trust. That trust leads to more volume and retention of new business. We are just getting to the point we’re promoting our business and growing our marketing department to propel Valor forward. And we are constantly, reviewing, evaluating, and adjusting our products and services as we expand into new geographies, onboard new customers, and develop new revenue streams.
The CEO Views: What kind of challenges do you generally observe within your clients, and how do you help them overcome those challenges with your innovative solutions?
Rick Niemi: The challenge we help our patients and customers overcome is maximum health and wellness. Compounding is typically prescribed by a doctor as the last resort for their patients. Meaning, a doctor will recommend or prescribe a compound when the patient has tried everything else. Since people today are focused more than ever on their overall health and well-being, it’s Valor’s job to journey alongside the patient and with our customers so that they will realize their health and wellness goals to live their best life right now! The journey to wellness is not a final destination like some may think, but an ongoing process that lasts a lifetime. At Valor, we help our patients through this journey, and because of that, “Life is better with Valor!” Another major challenge to overcome is the lack of awareness that compounded medications are a successful alternative treatment option for them. An example would be compounded topical pain meds to replace potentially addicting oral medications. Another example would be prescribers who prescribe ketamine to treat anxiety or depression. To fight the aging process, we compound hormone medications prescribed by doctors to match each patient’s exact needs. Our patients are the ones with the challenges and health goals, and Valor’s role is to be there for them along with way.
The CEO Views: What has the effect of Covid-19 been like on your target market, and how are you helping them cope with the situation?
Rick Niemi: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our awareness of two key things:
- Access to care: People are skeptical about visiting doctors for trivial health conditions. Thus, they are seeking help online. Valor has set up its comprehensive online model to tackle the challenge of patients wanting to start solution-oriented prescription therapies without the challenge of having to visit a new prescriber.
- Heightened awareness of building up the immune system: Apart from the medications we compound, Valor also helps patients with supplements that will assist in their overall wellness. Especially since COVID-19 began, people are highly intentional about things they can do to improve their immune systems.
The CEO Views: What, according to you, is the advancement in this industry in terms of technology? What advanced technologies do you use in your system to offer the best services?
Rick Niemi: Pharmacists used to use a mortar and pestle to prepare compounded medications. Today, modern technologies allow us to use machines, automation, and software to make higher volumes, prioritizing the quality of the medications, and showing results of quality compounded medications. Valor utilizes Propel software, which assists in ensuring that every step in the drug-making process is followed, monitored, and checked to prevent medication errors.
Valor focuses heavily on synergistic technology as it provides a path to scale operations safely, cost affordably, and profitably.
The CEO Views: Valor Compounding Pharmacy works with various types of clients. Can you provide us with examples of who your customers and patients are and describe what challenges, conditions, or issues you solve?
Rick Niemi: Valor has a few customer types. We make compound prescriptions for retail pharmacies that don’t provide the service. We compound medications for health system customers that already have a pharmacy, but want us to make a particular item or an entire menu of items. Working with Valor to compound their medications saves them time, money, and the effort it takes to compound medications while staying up with and adhering to the strict and ever-changing regulations in our industry. Satisfying multiple state and federal regulations are what helps Valor stand out as we grow our business. We proceed with the difficulties and focus on our strong foundation of a solid process and strict adherence to the rules and policies that govern our business. Valor serves a direct-to-consumer market where the patient may be getting medications for various conditions. In addition to personal wellness, our patients also include pets, as we have a strong presence for making pet medications. We don’t shy away from conditions that are most prevalent at the moment, we can compound medications like ketamine for anxiety and depression. A growing number of telemedicine companies are materializing who want to partner with Valor to compound prescriptions for their specific customer base. Ketamine is being prescribed in doses to treat anxiety and depression, and Valor is quickly becoming the leader in making this product for practices around the nation. The use of topical pain medications for some conditions where oral prescriptions were typically prescribed, is also growing. Valor makes a safe, non-addicting topical pain medication alternative that physicians specializing in pain management are prescribing. Oral opioid medications do not have to be the first line of prescribing for pain any longer, customized topical pain meds can assist a patient’s goal of relief, healing, and recovering overall. As Americans in their late 30’s or mid 40’s are showing the signs of aging, many are seeing doctors who specialize in regenerative or functional medicine. These doctors are specializing in treating a population interested in slowing down the aging process. Treatments like BHRT (bio-identical hormone replacement therapy), testosterone replacement, and even thyroid enhancing therapies, help in treating a myriad of symptoms that are all related to aging. Valor works with doctors who specialize in monitoring their patient’s needs so we can accomplish our mission to assist the nation’s aging population to live their best life, and that their life is better with Valor.
The CEO Views: What is the roadmap of your company in terms of technological and geographical expansion?
Rick Niemi: Valor has the infrastructure to scale its business model across the United States. In terms of expansion, at Valor we are focused on enhancing the ability to work with doctors and patients remotely through e-prescribing and our online portal. Saving time and promoting comfortable and thorough communication is our ultimate goal. Having an online presence helps promote our business to states that we serve, like California, Florida, and New York, just to name a few, but also allows us to see where patients and prescribers would like us to serve them! Within a year, we anticipate being licensed in all 50 states. We make it easy to work with us because we offer free 2-day delivery, fast turnaround times, and low flat-rate pricing in some prescription categories. Beyond this, our core focus of value can be seen by the doctor’s offices we work with, as we become a trusted partner and an extension of their team to the owner, doctor, and staff. Telemedicine is the future, and Valor is the telemedicine compounding pharmacy partner of choice for the nation’s practices that prescribe compounds.