Objective: This preliminary study aimed to determine the challenges faced by community pharmacists in Malaysia and identify the scope of their survival and future in their business environment. Methodology: The study populations were the community pharmacists in Penang and Kedah, two northern states in Malaysia. A survey was carried out to collect the data on respondent’s demography, business profile, challenges and obstacles faced by community pharmacists in business and the future role of community pharmacists in the next five years. Respondents were selected based on convenience. Chi Square test was used to measure the association of categorical variables; independent t-test was carried out for continuous variables; alpha level=0.05. Findings: A total of 103 pharmacists participated in the study. Less than half of the respondents (n=40, 38.8%) felt that franchise pharmacy such as ‘Watson Pharmacy’ and ‘Guardian Pharmacy’ do affect their business. More than three-forth (n=81, 78.6%) felt that pharmacists will have their dispensing rights in the near future. From the total number of respondents in town, 44.3% (n=27) agreed that franchise pharmacy had significantly influenced their business while 55.7% (n=34) disagreed with the statement. Both town and suburb pharmacies felt that ‘management skill’ is the most needed skill in the future for a pharmacist. Half of the chain pharmacy respondents felt that ‘counseling’ is the most needed skill in the future while 38.8% (n=37) of the independent pharmacy respondents think that management is the most important skill required. Conclusion: The community pharmacists perceived several threats to their future business survival. Among the threats, the major one being the ‘dispensing doctors’ which are a widely accepted practice in the country.
Key words: Business Survival, Community Pharmacists, Malaysia, Business Strategies, pharmacy owner, Pharmacy practice.