Christian Tadrus, PharmD, who has been a pharmacist at Sam’s Health Mart Pharmacies in Moberly, Mo., since 1997, is a believer in using patient adherence strategies to help boost pharmacy operations. And with the implementation of health reform, adherence will be a key differentiator between pharmacies — a measurable indicator of quality of care.
One of Health Mart’s newest owners is Yang Xiong, who opened Minneapolis’ Northside Community Health Mart Pharmacy in July. A 2011 graduate of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota, Xiong spent his first years working for two national chains. That experience led him to want to operate his own pharmacy and have a more direct impact on his patients.
For Tom Davis, co-owner of Kiowa Health Mart Pharmacy, in Eads, Colo., technology has always been critical to the operation. “We put in our first pharmacy system in 1982. At the time, we may have been one of the first systems in Colorado, to be honest,” Davis told DSN.
Quantity and quality: Those are the two metrics by which any pharmacy operation is measured — quantity of prescriptions dispensed and quality of services provided. Quantity keeps you in business; quality keeps your patients coming back.
It’s a constant challenge for a small operator to score high on both metrics, but that’s exactly what McKesson’s 2013 Pharmacy of the Year Award recipient Parkland Health Mart Pharmacy, of Desloge, Mo., has done.
In 2006, Health Mart was a loosely cohesive buying and marketing group of 268 independently owned and operated drug stores, falling under McKesson Corp.’s store-support umbrella via its purchase of the old FoxMeyer wholesale business in the mid-1990s. Today, just seven years after its reinvention and relaunch by McKesson, Health Mart is the nation’s biggest independent pharmacy franchise and one of the fastest-growing drug store networks of any kind, with more than 3,100 member stores doing business in thousands of communities across the United States.
Like politics, retailing is local. That inescapable fact is behind the ongoing build-up of Health Mart’s local marketing and patient care initiatives as McKesson shifts more store support muscle to the more than 3,100 independent pharmacies allied with the Health Mart network through its Local Marketing Support Program.
“The best of a chain combined with the best of an independent pharmacy.”
That’s how Health Mart president Steve Courtman describes Health Mart’s “unique value proposition in the marketplace.” That value, he added, is defined every day in thousands of communities across the United States by the pharmacy owner-operators who serve as the most accessible and most-utilized patient care providers in their local healthcare networks.
Success in the mass market can be an uphill battle for some niche brands as retailers trim selection, bolster private-label offerings and pass on smaller brands they perceive as higher risk. However, retailers also are increasingly looking to distinguish themselves from the competition, whether it is through exclusive offerings, customization or in-store services.
Has the explosion in generic utilization curbed pioneer-drug research and development? That's one concern floated by some pharmaceutical industry watchers, who claim that the stunning market share gains made by generic drug makers could reduce incentives for branded drug companies to spend to develop new molecular entities, conduct lengthy clinical trials, gain FDA approval and bring those new drugs to market.