Andrew Hanna is a certified compounding pharmacist. Andrew is the founder of the pharmacy Cotton Mill Pharmacy, a specialty pharmacy that compounds prescriptions for clients. A specialty pharmacy is a pharmacy that makes medications from scratch. This helps patients receive the precise amount of medication that is needed for their treatment. Andrew enjoys being able to create solutions for patients with complicated pharmaceutical needs.
Cotton Mill Pharmacy can also make custom flavor formulations for children, like medicated gummy bears and lollipops to help ease the children into a routine of taking their medications rather than trying to force them to take a pill or medication that can be easily be rejected by children making it harder for them to follow a routine required to keep the healthy.
Separate from his compounding business, Andrew is also a medical cannabis consultant. He helps set up clients who are interested in learning about and obtaining cannabis for medical purposes, such as pain relief, nerve pain, and mental health. He also provides topical Botox facial creams at his pharmacy. Andrew’s Topical Botox provides benefits similar to a facelift, but without injections that some might find uncomfortable.
Andrew Hanna attended Laurentian University with his Bachelor’s degree and then went to Misr University for science and technology to complete his degree in pharmacy and on to the University of Toronto he participated in the bridging program for his degree in Pharmacy. Before starting his own specialty pharmacy, Mr. Hanna got his early experience with pharmacies within retail outlets including Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, and Costco.
Where did the idea for Cotton Mill Pharmacy come from?
I started working for myself in 2015 after I had gone back to take courses at University Florida specialized in compounding. This is specialized training that not every pharmacist has. I really love the art and science behind pharmaceutical compounding. There is a creativity to it. I wanted to provide customized products that I knew would be helpful to patients but that is not available at a regular pharmacy.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
When I arrive at the pharmacy, I make sure things are in order and begin checking the reports for the day. With the assistance of my staff, we will look at all the compounds that need to be made that day. We do a fairly elaborate technical check and do our calculations for all of the compounds, which will actually be double checked and then triple checked before they go into the lab. That is part of our process to minimize the amount of errors.
Then I prepare to go into the lab. I wear a hazmat suit, mask, and use a GoPro to record the preparation of the compounds. The GoPro is used for quality assurance. If we end up missing a step or make a mistake, we will know exactly what went wrong and the recording can be used for training purposes. It helps us to identify where errors come from, but it also is a verification that things were prepared properly and that proper procedures were followed.
Patients can come pick up their compounded prescriptions from us and we consult with them when they pick them up, or we can deliver them and consult with them over the phone.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My imagination helps me bring ideas to life. Once I can imagine something, then I am able to make it a reality.
What’s one trend that excites you?
A compounding pharmacist is essentially a chemist and you get to discover things. I have three patent-pending medications. There were things that I stumbled across in the lab while I was experimenting. Creating new things really excites me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I always stay on top of industry changes so I can be innovative.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Enjoy what you do and make sure it means what you do.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
People fall into habits and routines that become automatic and can save a lot of time, but these routines may not be healthy or the best way to do something. I think people can be happier if they consider more options and find customized solutions.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I always look for ways to give back to the community. The community you work in can be your biggest support. If you give back to them and show recognition to them is going to help you to succeed.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
My strategy is to do what everyone is not doing and provide customized solutions that people want. I want to set myself apart from other pharmacies.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have had difficulty with competitors seeing me as more of a threat than a friendly colleague. I overcame that by showing them I was there to help and support the community, which included my competitors.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think businesses that come up with new ideas and that does not follow the traditional ways of doing things will do much better in today’s market. New business ideas should allow for more flexibility and more treatment options for people.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was on a pair of rollerblades.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The software on the GoPro is a great help to me since it helps me ensure my compounds have been created properly. The videos made with the GoPro can be streamed off my phone.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend reading Good to Great, by Jim Collins. We are doing good and achieving what we can, but that is not the same as being great. We can do better. It helps you to enhance your personal life and your professional life.
What is your favorite quote?
“Laughter is the best medicine.”
● Customized solutions for clients will bring them back.
● Watch out for the needs of your clients and appreciate them.
● Be someone that others can depend on
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.