Cardinal Health has donated $100,000 to Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Pharmacy to provide scholarships to students pursuing careers in independent pharmacy.

Cardinal Health is a top distributor of pharmaceutical and other medical supplies and equipment in the U.S., helping pharmacies, hospitals and ambulatory care sites focus on patient care while reducing costs. The company initially gave the College of Pharmacy (COP) a $125,000 gift in 2012.

The College of Pharmacy awarded its first Cardinal Health scholarships – $25,000 split among three recipients – in April 2013. This additional $100,000 will help COP continue to give $25,000 per year in scholarships for at least six more years.

“We are pleased to strengthen our partnership with WesternU, and are impressed with the outcomes we’re seeing from their strong focus on entrepreneurship and independent pharmacy,” said Daniel Rim, Director of Sales, Pacific South Region for Cardinal Health. “We are confident that WesternU’s student pharmacists are receiving an education and experiences that will prepare them to be the next generation of pharmacy owners, and we are proud to support that effort with this additional scholarship funding.”

Cardinal Health has been the exclusive sponsor of the College of Pharmacy’s White Coat Ceremony for the past three years, and has provided annual guest lecturers for COP Vice Dean Jesse F. Martinez’s 16-week Advanced Elective on Entrepreneurial Independent Pharmacy Ownership.

“We’ve been recognized for many years to have one of the strongest programs for students that want to go into independent pharmacy ownership,” Martinez said. “Our program has been in existence for 10 years. We’ve had well over 300 students take the course. Of that, about 23 percent to date have successfully opened their own pharmacies.”

Owning your own pharmacy is like owning your own medical practice, Martinez said. Independent pharmacies are introducing new clinical programs such as travel medicine and smoking cessation, and are monitoring chronic diseases to complement a full line of pharmacy products, compounding services and medications.

“Those services are now in the newer pharmacies because newer graduates have had that training,” Martinez said. “New pharmacies today and in the future have a lot more health resources for their clientele. Pharmacies are typically smaller in square footage but more high-powered in clinical services for the patient.”

Cardinal Health has committed $225,000 to scholarships for COP students.

“That’s a strong commitment,” Martinez said. “Cardinal Health continues to be one of the strongest supporters of independent community pharmacy in the nation.”