Tips & Advices for young pharmacists – interview with a pharmacist

Pharm. Marius Chereches                                           

As long as you have the freedom to do what you like, you can have very beautiful results.

#The pharmacist must learn to communicate, understand the patient, approach the doctor from an equal position and not as the recipient of their recommendations.

# Any choice you make, choose so as not to have regrets!

#Love what you do!

A pharmacist with a varied, exciting and inspirational career path, Marius Chereches is a pharmacist with an entrepreneurial path, he is one of those who has chosen to redefine the concept of “neighborhood pharmacy” by building a trustworthy relationship with his patients.

Starting from 2009, he has developed the pharmacy chain Ecofarmacia, a chain that he administers. He commits himself to his patients to always offer the most advantageous conditions and the lowest prices, because he knows how important it is for patients to receive medication within the shortest time frame and at the right price.

With these values in mind, he managed to build a strong network of pharmacies in a short time and was able to bring a wide range of products, to develop a young team always with focus on the needs of the patients accompanied with a warm atmosphere during each of their visit.

Marius began his professional career in 1996, he worked in the pharmaceutical industry (in companies such as Pharmatech, Terapia, Ozone Laboratories), where he learned the concepts of business management in distribution and retail (Pharmafarm) There he developed his communication and coordination skills.

This article reveals what inspired him throughout his career, what motivates him, how he sees the profession of pharmacy.

  • How did you start your career in the pharmacy?

My dream was to be a chemist. I was even an Olympic chemist during high school. Immediately after 1990, I was in the 11th grade, and I thought it would be interesting to go to the pharmacy faculty to manufacture medicines. I was hoping to invent drugs and to work in the production department. In high school I did some practice at Armedica (the current Richter Gedeon plant in Tg.Mures) and I was impressed. I did not come up with new molecules, but I managed to launch some very interesting medicines such as Aspenter, Ketoprofen SR, Ceclodyne or Pentoxy retard on the market, so at least partially, I fulfilled my dream. In parallel with the pharmacy faculty, I attended law courses, but I did not get the right to practice as the pharmaceutical industry seemed to have attracted me more.

  • Who inspired you along your professional career?

I did not have models, but there are characters I’ve been watching and I’ve been trying to learn something from them. A great chess player Bobby Fischer or Steve Jobs  were among the exciting characters in my life. Both of them were very passionate about their fields, and so I think I learned to do what I like. As long as you have the freedom to do what you like, you can have very beautiful results. And I’ve learned that nothing is falling out of the sky and you have to work hard if you want to get something.

  • How do you see the profession of pharmacist today, compared to the beginning of your career?

It is a very beautiful profession. The pharmacist is the only medicines specialist and no other profession knows about medicine like the pharmacist. The major problem today is whether the pharmacist (from Romania) can adapt to what society expects from him. The biggest enemy of a pharmacist is himself because he does not sufficiently understand what is his role in the big mechanism of the current system – drugs specialist.

  • What advantages a pharmacist has?

The pharmacist has complete knowledge of the medicine. Drugs, in one form or another, will exist for as long as there is life on this planet. That’s where his advantages come from. The problem is that drugs come from a very busy economic area, and the role of the pharmacist is threatened by many other adjacent professions – research, marketing, doctors, online commerce. The pharmacist seems to have stayed anchored in some old paradigms and lost his authority and recognition. The fact that the doctor perceives the pharmacist as a simple trader or “ointment maker” is not in our favor.

  • If you were going back in time, would you choose this profession?

I think I’d choose the entire pharmacy faculty. Maybe I would make some small adjustments to my professional trajectory, but not significant. I liked what I did and I’m happy with my achievements.

  • What are the weakness of your profession?

The weaknesses of the profession come from the way the pharmacist is formed. The faculty, first of all, should think more closely about what kind of pharmacist they should form, and then the community pharmacists may have to accept that society needs the pharmacist’s knowledge and less their skill to prepare something.That the pharmacist must learn to communicate, understand the patient, approach the doctor from an equal position of health specialist and not the beneficiary of their recommendations.

  • Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur?

It was a somewhat natural evolution – there is a moment in your life when you want to be your own boss. And it was an opportunity – I saw the possibility of making a pharmacy model that would be necessary. I opened a chain of proximity pharmacies at a time when they did not exist in such a format on the market.

  • If you were to point out something that was useful to you as an entrepreneur, what would that be?

In my entrepreneurial activity I mostly used the knowledge gained in the law faculty and the previous manager’s experience. My work experience in production has greatly helped me to understand very useful concepts in pharmacy work on quality of medicine and the processes that ensure quality.

  • What were the choices that inspired you in your professional career?

We had good choices, we were lucky, and I think we also had poor choices. All decisions have their logic and are reconciled with every decision made. I do not think there is a man in this world who, in a sincere analysis, would not change one or the other, but this is a very theoretical exercise and does not help very much.

  • What would you do differently in your career?

I often wonder how life would be, if the chemist I was when I went to college had been focused on a research career.

  • What is the most enjoyable professional experience?

Obviously the creation of a company, the construction of a chain of 30 pharmacies, the fact that I work with almost 200 wonderful people at Ecofarmacia is the most pleasant professional satisfaction. However, I think the most full of achievements and challenges is the period when I worked at Terapia and, together with my colleagues, we managed to completely change an outdated company in the largest romanian drug manufacturer.

  • How long are you an entrepreneur, how long are you a pharmacist?

Days are very different. However, most of them I am a manager who works with some 120 pharmacists. However, I have the time to go and work at one of our non-stop pharmacies in the night shift or on the weekend guard, and this gives me satisfaction for being close to people, colleagues and understanding the times we live in.

  • What motivates you to go ahead?

The fact that I like what I do and is the most important thing. The life of an entrepreneur in Romania is very difficult. You have many moments when you feel that society hates you because you are an entrepreneur, 1-2 inspections from the authorities every week, you are fined because some have to make their fin-plan, you waste a lot of time with unnecessary bureaucratic problems, you are treated as a presumptive thief, etc. If you still like what you are doing, you manage to overcome these issues and go on and enjoy yourself working with beautiful people and helping patients who need what you do.

  • What would you have needed to know when you were in the beginning of your career?

It’s hard to say because I was lucky to do what I liked at first (production) and to be helped by people who had great confidence in me (Pharmatech shareholders – Mioara Şipos and Radu Pavel) and I had a good start in the profession.

  • What advice would you give to those who are at the beginning of the road?

To experience as much as possible during the faculty – to go on doing the “good” summer practice, talk to industry people, ask, make friends in other countries to talk to. Access to information is much better today than in 1996 when I graduated from college.

Flashing Questions:

  • What is your daily ritual?

Every morning I solve some chess puzzles, I drink black tea and then we can not talk about ritual because the days are very different.

  • What is the best advice you have received in your career?

Jeffrey Lack was chairman of the board of directors at Therapia and told me that it is very important when you make a decision to think not to be ashamed of it in a few years.

  • Who is currently inspiring you?

My children.

 

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