Q&A: Northern focus

Frank Scorpiniti, Rexall

Retail pharmacy veteran Frank Scorpiniti officially assumed the role of CEO of Rexall Pharma Plus in February. Now that he’s settled in North of the Border, Scorpiniti talked with Drug Store News about his new role and his insights on the Canadian retail pharmacy market.

DSN: What are your key goals as CEO of Rexall Pharma Plus, and how would you describe your leadership style?

Frank Scorpiniti: We have just gone through a divestiture of what was our banner business, our Drug Trading business, and our franchise business. So, we are now a retail chain drug organization with 420 stores, and we find ourselves entering into the next phase of growth for the business. We are keenly focused on developing the strategy for the future and have a laser focus on driving the customer experience. As far as style, I’d share more what I value than style. I value, with the leadership team, transparency, collaboration and accountability for driving the customer experience and for driving teamwork across the organization.

DSN: How does the Canadian pharmacy market differ from the United States?

Scorpiniti: We are in an environment where everybody has healthcare coverage and yet, sometimes receiving health care in our landscape takes a little more time. So pharmacists ... are on the front lines in communities for health care but even more so in Canada. Because our pharmacists are so accessible, and they have a slightly broader scope of practice in Canada than they have in the United States, [they] are doing more things like initiating therapy for minor ailments without collaborative practice agreements. They are extending prescriptions without orders from physicians in instances where appropriate. I see expanding the role of pharmacists as a trend that will continue. ...
There is one area that’s quite different here in the Canadian landscape versus the United States, and that is that our payer base is very consolidated. ... In the Canadian market, it is two [payers] at best, and, in many instances, the government sets the reimbursement rates not only for government-reimbursed prescriptions, but for the private [payer] as well. So when there’s any movement in reimbursement rates from the government, it goes across the entire revenue base and creates a much more significant impact at one time than what we dealt with in the U.S. model.

DSN:
Canada is facing several uphill battles, such as a reduction in generic prescription reimbursement rates and drug system reform initiatives. How is the company overcoming those challenges?

Scorpiniti:
We are focused on efficiency. We are focused on building our revenue base in our stores. We are focused on driving new patient care models. We have a very robust program in Ontario now called MedsCheck, where our pharmacists are evaluating patients that take three or more chronic medications on a regular basis. [The pharmacists] are ensuring that those medications are working appropriately with one another, avoiding drug interactions and interacting with their prescribers where necessary. This is a ... pharmacist-patient interaction that is reimbursed and appreciated by patients. ... We are [also focused] on diversifying our profit model to enhance our front-shop contribution to our business through broader product offerings and more relevant offerings.

To listen to the full audio Q&A, click here.

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