Member Spotlight: When Distribution Is a Family Calling

July 28, 2022

While the business of pharmaceutical distribution has changed significantly over the past eight decades, HDA members like Capital Wholesale Drug Company (Capital Drug) have continued to play an essential role in providing safe and efficient healthcare delivery to trusted pharmacists and providers.

Capital Drug, an independent distribution company, was founded in 1950 by George D. (G.D.) Richards, who spent the early part of his career working in pharmaceutical sales, supporting doctors and pharmacists throughout central Ohio. In building these relationships, he identified that local healthcare providers were having difficulty acquiring medicines. This challenge inspired George to start his own company, based in Columbus, with a commitment to maintaining daily interactions with customers, purchasing directly from manufacturers and supporting local pharmacies across the region.

A Family Business

Capital Drug is still owned and operated by the Richards family. Two of George’s children, Linda and George K. (G.K.), joined the family business in the 1980s. As the company continued to grow, it required more space and was relocated to its current national headquarters in Columbus’ Grandview Heights neighborhood.

Today, as Capital Drug celebrates almost 75 years in business, healthcare distribution still runs in the family, as the third generation, sisters Sarah Richards Lynch and Jessica Richards Hosgood, PharmD, BCGP, carry forth the company’s mission and values. HDA recently spoke to Sarah and Jessica about their career journey as part of our Faces of the Supply Chain video series.

Jessica, VP of Pharmacy Operations & Compliance, and a pharmacist by training, is the newest family member of the Capital Drug team, where she joins Sarah, VP of Human Resources, who just celebrated her 16th anniversary at the company. While the sisters may not have initially planned to go into the family business, their grandfather’s mission resonated strongly for them and the desire to work alongside family was too much to pass up. Today, Jessica and Sarah work tirelessly in their roles to help get the right medications into the hands of patients.

The Role of an Independent Distributor

As a national, independent distributor, Capital Drug services a broad range of customers, with a continued focus on supporting independent pharmacies. These local providers are some of the most accessible and trusted healthcare professionals in their neighborhoods, and this is particularly true in rural areas and communities that have been economically marginalized.

Further, the value of independent pharmacies as counselors, educators and advocates to patients has only grown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Capital Drug’s evolving relationships with some of their longest-serving customers is a perfect example of this development.

Tremont Pharmacy, a local, independent pharmacy in Columbus, Ohio, has been working with Capital Drug for decades. Last year, following the approval of COVID-19 vaccines, they came in and provided vaccinations for all Capital Drug employees. According to Sarah Lynch Richards, it is especially meaningful to get to work with family-owned and -operated pharmacies like Tremont — a store that her grandfather called on so many years ago.

While their roots lie in these strong partnerships with local providers in the Columbus area, Capital Drug has continued to expand its reach, especially in the past 15 years. Today, the company offers a full line of products, including generic and branded pharmaceuticals, for customers across the lower 48 states. In addition to independent pharmacies, Capital Drug’s customer base includes government organizations, hospital systems and university healthcare clinics, among others.

Almost 75 years ago, G.D. Richards had a vision of supporting the pharmacists and providers working on the front lines of patient care. While the company’s operations have evolved, particularly as product traceability technologies come to the forefront, the Richards family remains committed to bringing their father/grandfather’s vision to life in a safe, secure and accessible way for the pharmacists — and their patients — that Capital Drug ultimately serves.       

Watch: “When Distribution Is a Family Calling”

An initiative of HDA’s Health Delivered campaign, Faces of the Supply Chain spotlights the passionate, committed, innovative and hard-working people that make up the healthcare distribution sector.