Sailing Into Pharmacy

Published on 14 October 2021

When he headed into the Navy a year after finishing high school, Tyler Taylor, Pharm.D. ’15, had no idea his career path would lead him to independent community pharmacy.

For six years, Taylor served as a nuclear reactor operator on a Navy submarine before realizing he needed a change.

“The Navy was a tough program, but it taught me a lot,” Taylor said. “There, I learned how to manage myself and others, and I took advantage of a lot of educational opportunities. That experience made me realize that I was capable of understanding and doing anything I wanted to do.”

As Taylor made the decision to leave the Navy, his future wife was attending pharmacy school at University at Buffalo, The State University of New York School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. In talking to her and learning more about her classes and the field of pharmacy, Taylor made the decision to attend the University at Buffalo where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology and began making plans to become a pharmacy student himself.

After getting married, the Taylors, both native St. Louisans, moved back to their hometown, and Taylor submitted his application to University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis.

“I was accepted as a transfer student in 2011, and it was a really unique year because there were 60 transfers,” Taylor explained. “We all formed friendships quickly and worked together really well.”

Throughout his time as a pharmacy student, Taylor had the opportunity to work with his father-in-law, Yusaf Beg, B.S. ’81, who was the co-owner of St. Louis Hills Pharmacy. When Beg decided to retire, Taylor accepted an opportunity to buy the pharmacy in 2018.

As the current owner of St. Louis Hills Pharmacy, Taylor has established himself as a pharmacist and an entrepreneur who is committed to providing exceptional service to his customers and is constantly looking for new ways to broaden his business.

“Independent pharmacies can no longer rely solely on retail medication,” Taylor noted. “We’re not open 24-hours or located on every corner, so we have to give people a good reason to come to us. Personal service is one driving factor that keeps our customers coming back. We take time to really get to know our customers and show them we care. But, to continue to stay profitable, diversification of the business has been critical.”

As St. Louis’ only certified veteran pharmacy owner, Taylor has taken a variety of steps to diversify his business over the years, including offering unique services such as medication compounding, pet medications and free medication delivery. Taylor also offers customers access to a range of medical rental equipment.

In addition, Taylor is committed to going above and beyond to provide personalized and specialized patient care. His pharmacy offers health and wellness consultations, medication therapy management and COVID-19 rapid testing and vaccines. Taylor has also recently begun working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Missouri Pharmacy Association to offer clinical services to help patients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and asthma.

Through it all, Taylor credits the University for providing him with the foundation and skills needed to achieve success as an independent pharmacy owner.

“The University offered the opportunity for me to work at so many excellent rotation sites with great preceptors,” Taylor said. “I gained experience at independent pharmacies, while also having the chance to work in retail pharmacy. I also did an informatics rotation and got to see a hospital pharmacy structure and how it was run. All of these experiences helped me acquire so much knowledge and helped solidify my desire to pursue community pharmacy.”

Today, Taylor shares his knowledge with future generations of pharmacists through his own work as a preceptor.

“I let all of my students know about the many different opportunities and paths that are available within pharmacy,” Taylor noted. “But regardless of what paths they choose, I stress that being successful requires hard work in classes and rotations, a good mentor, a lifelong love for learning and the ability to learn independently. With those things, they can achieve the career they want in pharmacy.”

This story was first published in the fall 2021 issue of Script Magazine. To view past issues of Script, visit the Script Magazine archive.

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