Auburn Pharmacist Spotlight: Edward ReynoldsEdward Reynolds, HSOP Class of 1989, stands outside city hall in Bainbridge, Georgia.
September 14, 2018
AUBURN, Alabama – For most people, managing their pharmacy is more than a full-time job. With the traditional roles of a pharmacist, along with the other challenges of managing any healthcare and retail business, it can be a lot to handle. Compound that task with running your city and you have a view into the life of Edward Reynolds.
A member of the Harrison School of Pharmacy Class of 1989, Reynolds owns Bainbridge Pharmacy in Bainbridge, Georgia, and recently acquired Hall Drug Company in Blakely, Georgia. While most community pharmacists have a strong sense of duty to their community, Reynolds takes it a step further as mayor of the city with a population of just over 12,000.
The strong commitment to his community is something Reynolds came by honest. His father, Billy Knight Reynolds, was a member of the HSOP Class of 1957 and served as mayor for 28 years while his mother, Martha Grace "Sug" Reynolds, was very involved in civic life and even has a gazebo named after her in the downtown Willis Park.
“My father was mayor for 28 years and he believed in service,” said Reynolds. “I saw how he could impact the lives of people in his city with his ability to network and connect to people that could bring solutions and help to improve our city. He accomplished many things for the City of Bainbridge and I felt compelled to see those continue.”
Because of the example he had in his parents, civic involvement was something that came at an early age.
“Their example led me to become involved even during my high school and college years,” said Reynolds. “After returning, I became chairman of the Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce and was selected to participate in Leadership Georgia, a statewide leadership development program. In some way it is all I know.”
That example extended to the other side of his life as well. Reynolds credits his father for inspiring him to become a pharmacist and his passion he has for connecting with the people he serves.
“The care and impact my father had with people in Bainbridge lead me to consider becoming a pharmacist,” said Reynolds. “I have developed more passion for the impact community pharmacy can have on patient health outcomes and improving health related issues in our area. My favorite part of the job has been and will always be connecting with people.”
Reynolds sits in the gazebo that bears his mother's name in Willis Park in Bainbridge, Georgia.
The balancing act that comes with serving your constituents, who happen to also be your patients, can be a difficult one. For Reynolds, he credits the great people around him as the reason he is able to walk that line.
“The other pharmacists and staff are critical to help keeping the pharmacy moving and we have a city manager that manages the day-to-day operations of the city very professionally,” said Reynolds. “So, really both roles are similar. Community pharmacists are some of the closest health professionals to patients and it is very much a trust and advisory relationship. Being a mayor is very similar in that mayors and city councils are the closest elected official to voters.”
Reynolds’ two roles came together approximately 10 years ago in the creation of a transparent pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). The employee health benefits in the City of Bainbridge are self-funded and he noticed a big difference in what his pharmacy paid versus what the city was charged.
“I knew as a city we could not afford the extra money in the contract and I felt strongly that if my pharmacies were to continue to thrive and be a viable business moving forward I needed to address the impact of PBM’s,” said Reynolds.
While participating with a performance group of similar pharmacy owners across the United States, the group discussed closed networks and mandatory mail order. After some brainstorming at a kitchen table, Rx Preferred Benefits was formed.
“One of the men knew Jeff Malone, he had previously founded and run Net-Rx. The company dealt in back office solutions for pharmacies including pre- and post-edit and cash pricing, among many other offerings,” said Reynolds.
With the company having recently sold, Malone was intrigued by the new business idea and became the CEO, a role he has held the last nine years.
“We are completely transparent and bring the spread savings back to the employers while allowing community pharmacies to be the leader in the networks,” said Reynolds. “We also pass along all rebates back to the employers. With our plans community pharmacy will not be closed out, no mail order, no DIR fees and no negative margins on claims.”
Looking back on his time at Auburn, Reynolds said the two things that stand out the most were his classmates and football.
“Pharmacy school was difficult at times, but it was nice to pull together with my classmates to help each other meet the challenges and many are still valuable colleagues to me,” said Reynolds. “My uncle through marriage is Pat Meagher, he was a member of the 1957 National Championship team that his father coached. So Auburn Football was a highlight, always. My wife and I married during my years in pharmacy school and I have many fond memories of starting our lives together there as well.”
Additionally, he credits Auburn for transforming him into who he is today. In particular, he credits Bill Felkey for the impact he made on him in the classroom.
“I developed in many ways while in Auburn Pharmacy school. I remember Auburn Pharmacy as a school looking to the future and working to develop pharmacists in emerging practice ideas,” said Reynolds. “Patient Counseling was really coming into its own, and even now those skills serve me well. I remember Bill Felkey as someone whom I felt was really looking to bring technology into pharmacy even before iphones and apps. The ideas he pursued opened my eyes to developing new ways to engage and connect with patients.”
About the Harrison School of Pharmacy
Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit http://pharmacy.auburn.edu.
Last Updated: September 14, 2018