Steve Burman says, Do the right thing

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Steven Burman is the only one of three brothers to grow up in his father’s retail pharmacy, running the register and organizing the magazines. After graduating from pharmacy school in 1983, he went right to work at BurmansRx, buying it in 1995. BurmansRx, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, was recognized in April as a 2015 Philadelphia Smart CEO Family Business. Burman, now president and CEO of the BurmansRx family, which includes the retail pharmacy, a specialty pharmacy, and a medical supplies company, spoke with HME News recently about his success and why pharmacy is such a “cool profession.”

‘I love medical supplies’

Burman added a DME component when he bought Burmans Rx, growing a “nice” respiratory business, which he eventually sold to Praxair. At that point he added disposable urological and wound care supplies. He estimates he will generate $12 million from the supplies in 2015.

“I love the medical supplies business,” said Burman. 

A catheter patient outreach program launched in 2014 has lead to 40% growth from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015.

Unlike other segments of the HME industry, he sees the space as having a lot of opportunity for growth.

“It’s been insulated from bidding,” said Burman. “I do see more and more large players getting into the market, but there’s room for smaller guys.”

‘Do the right thing’

Whether it was oxygen in the past, or wound care supplies and specialty compounding today, Burmans has always strived to provide high quality clinical care, as well as good customer service.

“We always try and do the right thing,” said Burman. “Our mission is to enhance economic well-being with the quality of life of all parties. I figure if you do that, good things will happen.”

‘They steal our scripts’

Like other community pharmacists, Burman is not a fan of mail-order pharmacies.

“They steal your scripts all the time, but when they can’t get meds there, due to weather or whatever, we always bail them out,” he said. “What else are you going to do?”

‘A caring person’

While Burman is quick to say pharmacists are not superheroes, he acknowledges it takes being a ‘caring’ person to excel at it.

“People look up to you for advice, and if you are a caring person you want to spend time with them and give them good advice,” said Burman. “Pharmacy is a pretty cool profession.”