Mrs. Okunsanya, the erstwhile registrar of Pharmacists’ Board of Nigeria.

1988 was not the most promising year for any pharmacist to be an entrepreneur. There were so many pharmacies and many of them were exceedingly successful so a lot of work needed to be done to be relevant.  Capricas was registered to do business with several multinational companies including Shell petroleum Development Company of Nigeria. Few commercial banks were on hand to provide credit but up coming entrepreneurs got drowned in delayed payments from these companies and the excessive interest rates imposed by greedy bank managers. Evidently, the business of bulk pharmaceutical supplies was not the way to go.

In 1997, she was honoured by the pharmaceutical society of Nigeria, PSN, with the award of the fellowship of the society. Same year her children moved to the USA fur further studies. Virginia Major moved temporarily to the United States of America with them with a view to giving them the emotional stability so much needed by young teenage girls. After several jobs, harsh experiences and the initial teething problems occasioned by moving into the United States, she studied for and passed the foreign pharmacy equivalent examinations in December 1999. At that time the examination was conducted only in Chicago, Illinois once yearly.

The years in the USA though tough, frustrating and most times nerve- wrecking, were to be the best years in Virginia’s life as she began to see pharmacy practice and entrepreneurship from a totally different perspective.

Though she had become increasingly knowledgeable, she had become increasingly dissatisfied with the old fashioned and complacent way of running a pharmacy in her part of the world. She had seen and learnt so much from being exposed to various aspects of the American work force. These are lessons well learned and never to be forgotten.

So many questions needed answers.
Where were the innovations of merchandizing and shelf display? Where was the selection of goods that the customers really wanted and could afford? Where was the commitment to providing genuine value to the customer?
The answers were obvious and Virginia knew that things had to drastically change. She came back determined to make a difference.

Misfortune struck when in January 2002 she lost all her personal belongings to fire including educational credentials, foreign travel documents, and bank and family records. Sadly, she lost her dear mother a few months later.
Determined not to wallow in self- pity or depend on family and unpredictable government contracts, Virginia resolved to ach;                                              HOME | COUNSELLING | ABOUT US CONTACTS  | FAQs
 
 
         
         HISTORY OF CAPRICAS
       
   

Capricas today is a leading innovator in health and pharmacy services. It is working to redefine pharmaceutical care.

 It is not just about the prescription we fill or the sales we make but about the quality of the lives that we touch.

Our Proactive pharmacy care is a fundamentally different approach to pharmacy care that helps lower cost and improve outcome. At Capricas innovation is not only our mission but our passion.

It all started in Port Harcourt, a quiet city in the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. It will be impossible to tell the story of Capricas without telling the story of its founder, Virginia Major. She is the ninth of ten children born to a Reverend gentleman, Obadiah Datubo Brown and his wife Virginia Nene Brown. As a kid, Virginia dreamt of being a fine artist. As she grew older, her love for reading affected her interest and she was definite she would be a lawyer.

Her strength however was in the pure sciences.  Young Virginia, who combined her studies with building a family, graduated with an honours degree in pharmacy in 1981 and went on same year to Sunderland, England to pursue a post graduate degree in pharmacy.

 At various times in her life - from undergraduate days to internship training, she worked for Seaside Chemists, the foremost community pharmacy in Port Harcourt at the time. The company always had a place for her even at short notices. She was deeply influenced by the CEO and pharmacist in charge, Ransome Opudah who believed in her even at her early days as a pharmacist. Little did she know that this experience and mentoring would shape her life for ever.

To make an additional income in order to raise and decently educate her two young children, she worked part time at various pharmacies after her official hours as a pharmacist in a Government hospital.
Hospital pharmacy practice for Virginia was made interesting by Amoni Pepple, a fellow of the pharmaceutical society of Nigeria who at the time was the director of pharmaceutical services in Rivers State, Nigeria. Virginia was Amoni Pepple’s protégée and that definitely helped her navigate the rough waters of hospital pharmacy practice.

Virginia needed more challenges and so in February 1985, while still working in the hospital on a monthly salary of about N490, she took a loan of N2, 000 to establish a small neighbourhood drug store in Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt.
This move was vehemently opposed by her father who believed it was morally wrong to ‘serve two masters’- the government and her own business. So the store was locked up with the rent still running.  Fortunately, in 1986 family members intervened on Virginia’s behalf and got an approval from her father on a proviso.

It took several months to get the place ready as she depended on her salary which was barely enough to support her and the children. Because she could not afford a professional painter, the walls were personally and crudely painted by her and her teenage cousin Joel Dappa.

The shelves took longer to build since she had to wait to receive what was left of her monthly salary in order to pay the local carpenter. In addition to the little money she had saved, she had the goodwill of some of her colleagues and wholesalers. This drug store finally opened to the public in 1986 and was run only in the evening hours after her official job at the government hospital. The drug store had only two workers- Virginia and Joel who was at this time a full time undergraduate student.

However the laws of the land made it impossible for the store to be registered in her name while she was still employed by the government. This was not a problem at the time for her because all Virginia wanted was to spend a few hours a day there for a little additional income.

One year later, the drugstore had quadrupled in value and things became more interesting. She was encouraged by a friend to have it registered with the corporate affairs commission.

Thus in December 1987, the drug store was registered as Capricas Drugs Ltd with a registered address of 89 Market Road, Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt.  With this success and the attendant challenges, Virginia planned to quit her job and work for Capricas.

In early 1988, Gabriel Toby, her brother- in-law, who was also her mentor and an economist by profession, reviewed her financial books and projections. With confidence, he encouraged her to dare into the world of community pharmacy practice. Gabriel Toby was to be a motivator and a major drive towards excellence all through her career. In 1988, Virginia resigned her job to work full time as the CEO of Capricas drugs.  It was thereafter registered as pharmaceutical premises by Mrs. Okunsanya, the erstwhile registrar of Pharmacists’ Board of Nigeria.

1988 was not the most promising year for any pharmacist to be an entrepreneur. There were so many pharmacies and many of them were exceedingly successful so a lot of work needed to be done to be relevant.  Capricas was registered to do business with several multinational companies including Shell petroleum Development Company of Nigeria. Few commercial banks were on hand to provide credit but up coming entrepreneurs got drowned in delayed payments from these companies and the excessive interest rates imposed by greedy bank managers. Evidently, the business of bulk pharmaceutical supplies was not the way to go.

In 1997, she was honoured by the pharmaceutical society of Nigeria, PSN, with the award of the fellowship of the society. Same year her children moved to the USA fur further studies. Virginia Major moved temporarily to the United States of America with them with a view to giving them the emotional stability so much needed by young teenage girls. After several jobs, harsh experiences and the initial teething problems occasioned by moving into the United States, she studied for and passed the foreign pharmacy equivalent examinations in December 1999. At that time the examination was conducted only in Chicago, Illinois once yearly.

The years in the USA though tough, frustrating and most times nerve- wrecking, were to be the best years in Virginia’s life as she began to see pharmacy practice and entrepreneurship from a totally different perspective.

Though she had become increasingly knowledgeable, she had become increasingly dissatisfied with the old fashioned and complacent way of running a pharmacy in her part of the world. She had seen and learnt so much from being exposed to various aspects of the American work force. These are lessons well learned and never to be forgotten.

So many questions needed answers.
Where were the innovations of merchandizing and shelf display? Where was the selection of goods that the customers really wanted and could afford? Where was the commitment to providing genuine value to the customer?
The answers were obvious and Virginia knew that things had to drastically change. She came back determined to make a difference.

Misfortune struck when in January 2002 she lost all her personal belongings to fire including educational credentials, foreign travel documents, and bank and family records. Sadly, she lost her dear mother a few months later.
Determined not to wallow in self- pity or depend on family and unpredictable government contracts, Virginia resolved to achieve success by facing pharmacy practice squarely.

The quiet but consistent nudges from her dear friend, Dr Affiong Fifi Ekefre of blessed memory to rebuild Capricas could not be ignored. Ibim Semenitari, a young and brilliant editor of a business journal is perhaps the main catalyst to Capricas turnaround today. Ibim, also Virginia’s niece, practically ‘nagged’ her into swinging into action to build a pharmacy of her dreams.
 
Capricas pharmacy was at the time struggling to make sales, pay rent and pay staff. It was dim, poorly merchandized and unwelcoming with embarrassingly poor customer service.
 It presented Virginia with her first real challenge to her new ideas on pharmacy layout, selection, service and pricing.

The new Capricas
In fact in 2006, faced with the prospect of being completely broke, she defiantly closed down her pharmacy. She re- modeled it, changed the floor plan. New staff was hired and trained, new and affordable products were stocked. Shelves were labeled.  Bright lights were installed to create a cheerful warm ambience.
The change was dramatic and instituted a level of service and personal attention unequaled in the region and introduced a brand new way of doing things. The leaders of Capricas believe in this change because that is the right way to do business and it gives them a tremendous competitive advantage.

Virginia Major made a commitment to her profession and committed to spend her time in perseverance and hard work. Between late 2006 and March 2009, four outlets were opened with the fifth coming on board by August 2009. Capricas presently has staff strength of about 40 people including 5 pharmacists, and 4 graduate staff.

Our leadership team
Capricas is led by a team of indefatigable professionals who have always put the patient first. In Capricas, we strive to improve the quality of human life. We focus on creating a new model of health care that integrates all aspects of pharmacy services with non-emergency medical care.
Today we provide patients with expert care and innovative solutions that are both effective and easy.
Our methods help improve health outcomes and lower overall health care costs.

Management
The management of Capricas presently includes;

  •  the managing director
  • all pharmacist managers
  • operations manager
  • human resources manager
  • accountant
  • I.T/stock manager
  • Chief security officer

 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
     
     
     
     
     
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
         
               
©2003-2009, CAPRICAS PHARMACY