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Menu, please: Drug stores need to take a page from other retailers

BY Dave Wendland

If you recall from my most recent blog post, I’m writing about honoring one my father’s favorite pastimes – dreaming up ideas that haven’t been thought of yet. Focusing on retail pharmacy, I’m happy to share another of my mind meanderings.

There is no disagreement that pharmacists remain the most accessible, trusted healthcare professionals within the healthcare community. Yet many consumers (aka patients) don’t take full advantage of the professional services available. I believe it’s because these same consumers don’t know what they don’t know.

Here’s a short list of some of those services:

  • Compliance Tools – a way to help patients remember if and when medication has been taken.
  • Flu Vaccinations – the convenient administration of annual flu vaccines (or other immunizations)
  • Medication Checkup – a review of prescription and non-prescription medications to ensure they are being taken correctly and not posing a potential contraindication
  • Compounding Prescriptions – for medications not commercially available in the dose or form prescribed, pharmacists may be able to mix small quantities of medications for patients
  • Smoking Cessation Support – in addition to recommending over-the-counter medications to help consumers quit smoking, pharmacists may offer specific pharmacy smoking cessation programs along with counseling and coaching
  • Clinical Education/Guidance – for more information about specific health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, pharmacies often conduct specialized clinic days that focus on education or risk assessment
  • Medication Delivery – convenient home delivery for those patients unable to pick up prescriptions
  • Auto-renewal/Synchronization – medication regimens for a chronic condition or longer-term treatment can benefit from synchronized refills to be delivered on a specific day of the month or establish auto renewals to encourage adherence
  • Prescription Substitution – if clinically appropriate, pharmacists may be able to change the dose, dosage form, frequency, or route of administration of a prescription to better meet a patient’s specific insurance coverage
  • Counseling services – pharmacists often offer advice and education about prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, natural health products, medical devices, and more

So, here’s the BIG idea. Virtually every other service-oriented retailer that I visit (auto repair shop, dry cleaner, chiropractic center, hair salon, etc.) posts their service offerings on some type of “menu board” with price ranges and/or special offers.

Why don’t we see such menu boards within retail pharmacy? One could argue that until somewhat recently, consumers did not feel empowered or overly-engaged with their healthcare. Today’s consumer has evolved rapidly and won’t know what retail pharmacies have to offer beyond prescription dispensing if nobody tells them.

Therefore, I would urge the pharmacy profession to take a page from other service-oriented businesses and start informing consumers what’s available – perhaps in the form of a menu.
 

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McKesson Canada names new president

BY DSN STAFF

ST-LAURENT, Quebec — McKesson Canada on Monday named Paula Keays president, effective immediately.

"I have worked alongside Paula for over 15 years, I've been impressed by her vision, drive and commitment to operational excellence," stated Paul Julian, EVP and group president McKesson Canada. "Our customers, business partners and employees will be well served by her leadership style, deep understanding of health care and passion for customer service."

"I am honoured to be taking on my new role as president of McKesson Canada," Keays said.  "Canada's health care environment is becoming increasingly complex. Together with our people and our partners I'm looking forward to leading through an important moment in our history as we focus on our customers to deliver better value and patient care for Canadians from coast-to-coast."

In her new role, Keays will lead 4,000 employees and be responsible for McKesson's distribution solutions offerings in Canada, including pharmaceutical distribution, pharmacy technology, specialty pharmacy and infusion, procurement and independent retail banner solutions. Keays will report to Julian and will be responsible for driving sales, marketing and operations for the business.

Prior to this appointment, Keays served as McKesson Canada's SVP pharmaceutical distribution and operations. In this position, she led one of McKesson Canada's largest portfolios and was responsible for sales, marketing and operations. Under Keays' leadership, McKesson Canada successfully advanced its network optimization, which has helped deliver significant operational efficiencies and improvements to the overall business. She also drove the design and introduction of important sales and operations team initiatives which has enhanced customer service, strengthened business partnership and created shared success for customers across Canada.

Since joining McKesson in 2000, Keays has held increasingly senior positions, including VP and corporate controller; VP and CFO; and SVP, CFO and Six Sigma.

Until a new SVP pharmaceutical distribution and operations is appointed, Keays will continue to oversee the operations of the pharmaceutical distribution and operations portfolio in addition to her responsibilities as president.
 

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Survey: Sales, coupons still biggest holiday sales drivers

BY Marianne Wilson
It still comes down to price. 
 
Despite more modern approaches, 89% of consumers said that deep discounts (including coupons) are the key determinant of what stores they will visit for holiday shopping this year, according to a survey of millennial and Generation Z consumers conducted by HRC Retail Advisory. 
 
In addition to finding that sales and coupons are more influential than any other tactic in motivating consumers to enter stores this holiday season, the survey also revealed: 
*Apparel: The apparel category is headed for a big win this holiday, as respondents plan to allocate more than 30% of their budget on apparel and footwear purchases for family and friends this year.
 
*Millennial and Generation-X parents are planning to spend 40% of an assumed $500 holiday budget for their children on clothing and shoes, versus a small 16% on gaming consoles and games.
 
 *Gift cards: An overwhelming percentage of study respondents will include gift cards in their holiday shopping this year, with  83% of millennial parents planning to include gift cards in their holiday purchases. Thirty-two percent  (32%) of respondents who intend to buy gift cards indicated that gift cards will comprise at least half of their holiday budget.  In a finding consistent across all generations studied, 62% of all study respondents with a preference preferred to receive a gift card rather than an actual gift. 

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