Started by William Propst Sr., the company's history mirrors the evolution of the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. Propst Sr. is chairman of Qualitest and his son William Propst Jr., serves as the company's vice chairman.
Propst graduated from Samford pharmacy school in 1946, began work for Walgreens and opened his own store in North Alabama in 1963.
built five others in Huntsville and in 1968 was approached by the Kmart corporation
got the franchise to establish pharmacies in Kmarts across the U.S., then the company offered to buy the franchises from him and he
took over as Kmart's pharmacy director in 1970.
For Propst that meant a move to Michigan, where he served with Kmart for more than 16 years.
said Michigan was one of the first states, in 1979, to enact a generic drug law and he
had had a close vantage point to the beginnings of that market.
"During that time, generics were just becoming fashionable and we (Kmart) were buying them from everywhere," Propst
"Management wanted to determine where we were buying everything from so we started Qualitest
in 1985 to test the products."
Propst left Kmart in 1986 and bought a part interest in Qualitest so he could move it to Huntsville.
By 1989, he
realized to make the business work Qualitest
needed to get into manufacturing.
wasn't interested in that, so he
bought out the company's share and in 1992 bought a pharmaceutical production plant in Charlotte.
named that operation Vintage Pharmaceuticals.
said when he
started the company there were 250 to 300 drug wholesalers in the marketplace; today there are about 45 and three or four dominate about 85 percent of the business.