Galt Aims to Disrupt Status Quo with 4-Day Workweek

Galt CEO Barry Patel_Galt Pharmaceuticals

Galt Pharmaceuticals Co-founder and CEO Barry Patel/Courtesy of Galt Pharmaceuticals. 

Galt Pharmaceuticals is just a little bit different. With a centralized business model aimed at disrupting the status quo of big pharma, the company recently implemented a 4-day, 36-hour workweek that tilts at a disruption happening across the North American workforce. 

The Marietta, GA-based outfit, whose trademarks include products for pain, insomnia and oral thrush, takes its name and inspiration from the protagonist, John Galt, in the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Galt is of the philosophy that an individual with a strong will and work ethic can break down manmade barriers and achieve anything he or she desires, and Galt Pharmaceuticals believes the same.

The company’s new flexible workplace policy is a testament to its employees’ drive and dedication, which shone through when the COVID-19 pandemic set in.

“Our business really continued without fail,” said Tracey Define, Galt’s vice president corporate systems. “It was a very easy decision to make because we really learned from the pandemic that our staff is committed, and if we do need them to go an extra mile, it’s never a question.”

The leadership came to the decision after reflecting on the lessons offered by the pandemic, along with research showing an increase in productivity and creativity brought about by the 4-day workweek model. Define summed up these takeaways.

“A shorter workweek allows people to really focus on creativity because it's in the breaks when creativity happens,” she said. “It’s not when you're toiling at your desk, focusing on numbers or e-mails. It's when you have an actual break to just relax and let your mind be open.”

The three-day weekend is a central part of the strategy.

“There's actual science behind why you feel more relaxed after three days. It takes that amount of time to really decompress and let go of the stress, so that you have the energy and excitement to get back at things on Monday,” Define explained.

Thinking outside of the box is the norm for Galt, which was founded with the mission of finding a better way to do things. Its business model is based on disrupting the inefficient models and bureaucracies of “big pharma” through a franchising model.

The company consists of local business owners it calls “Phranchisees” who run Phranchises™ in 55 territories across the U.S. committed to healthcare provider engagement and product representation. These entrepreneurs employ their own sales and marketing associates, further decentralizing the operation.

Co-founders Wade Smith and Barry Patel, both pharmacists with extensive knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, were motivated to launch this model to fix the inefficiencies they experienced first-hand. Patel, who serves as Galt’s chief executive officer, explained how the benefits get passed down to the patient.

“The disruption piece is really allowing for the businesses in the pharmaceutical sector to be run in the way that they need to be, in the specific markets that they are in,” he said. “They can be much more efficient because they can react to the needs of their individual healthcare community.” 

While in the typical big pharma model, patient assistance and access questions are channeled through a large corporate office, Patel explained that Galt’s model allows for more patient-centricity.

“We can address those down on the ground, because you've got owners that have good relationships with their local pharmacists and the prescribers,” he said. 

This allows Galt to ensure the patient receives the best product at the lowest possible cost, even in the absence of insurance. In the same vein, the company places a priority on working with independent pharmacies.

“They are a lot more patient responsive than chain pharmacies and some of these other places that are driven to be more number oriented, so we’re able to get to the root of any issues that patients may be having about a product a lot quicker,” Patel said.

Territory owners and sales partners in each territory are also given flexibility in terms of time management. Define explained that this enables better patient support.

“They make decisions about where and how they spend their time, which allows for the creation of deeper relationships with the healthcare providers that they see and work with every day,” she said.

Patel stated that Galt’s product strategy follows this same patient-centric philosophy.

“As pharmacists, we have sort of nostalgia about products that worked in the past, but then ended up on the shelf or just taken off the market because [companies] didn't want to continue the marketing fees and so forth. So we look at which markets are still not satisfied from an unmet need perspective,” he said. 

This is how Galt decided on the insomnia space, which experiences a significant amount of churn, and the pain market where Patel said there is a concentration of opioid drugs. Galt’s Norgesic Forte® is a non-opioid, non-controlled medicine intended to help relieve acute musculoskeletal pain.

“There's nothing else out there right now being marketed in that category, and opioids were over-marketed for years and years,” he said. “So, we're bringing something older to the market, but with a fresh look.” 

So far, Patel said that Galt’s latest foray into model disruption is eliminating even more inefficiencies.

“What I've seen in these few short weeks is that people are more efficient in how they get their work done during those four days, because they know there's no time for idle meetings or things that might not make sense,” he shared. 

In the current employment climate of “The Great Resignation”, Define advises any company with the capacity to try the 4-day week to give it a shot.

“Employee satisfaction really should be number one on every employer's to-do list, because I know for our small company, we couldn't afford to lose one person,” she said. 

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