Schnuck Markets announces new executive addition to IT team
ST. LOUIS — Schnuck Markets announced that David Steck has joined the company as VP IT infrastructure, reporting to chief information officer Bob Hardester. Steck was previously senior director IT infrastructure, asset and spend management at Express Scripts.
“Schnucks is a progressive company whose leaders continue to place a high priority on technology in operations and as a means of communicating and connecting with customers. I see this as a unique opportunity for Dave to put his pharmacy and technology expertise to work in directly impacting and nourishing the lives of our customers," Hardester said.
In his new role, Steck will supervise an IT infrastructure team that oversees management of critical applications throughout data centers. Steck is enthusiastic about the chance to explore the analytics of the food-and-pharmacy company.
“While pharmacy is familiar territory, grocery is a new industry, which makes this especially intriguing for me,” he said. “It also plays to my strengths of working in a low-margin industry and exploring ways we can make life easier for our customers by improving the overall in-store and online experiences of shopping at Schnucks.”
Steck earned a bachelor's degree in computer information systems from Missouri State University. He resides with his wife, Kaye, in Ballwin, Mo.
Competition Bureau signs off on sale of 13 Loblaw-owned stores and pharmacies
OTTAWA, Ontario — The Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency focusing on Canadian businesses, has approved the sale by Loblaw of two No Frills stores to Metro, and two Shoppers Drug Mart stores to the Jean Coutu Group. Additionally, the bureau approved the license of nine pharmacies within a Loblaw store to Remedy's Rx.
The transactions are being executed under the March 2014 Consent Agreemnt between Loblaw and the Bureau relating to the company's acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart. The transactions are meant to maintain competition in the retail pharmacy sector in Canada.
Competition, in general, translates into lower prices for the consumer as well as more choice, a wider range of service options and increased innovation, the bureau said. When reviewing Loblaw's aquisiton of Shoppers Drug Mart, the bureau studied the level of retail competition in every market where both a Loblaw-owned grocery store and a Shoppers Drug Mart were present. The bureau discovered competition concerns in 27 such markets. As part of the Consent Agreement, it is required that Loblaw sell the remaining 14 retail stores. That process is ongoing, according to the bureau.
Walchirk emphasizes embracing change in rapidly expanding community pharmacy industry
ORLANDO, Fla. – Addressing 3,000 independent pharmacy attendees representing more than 1,000 pharmacies at the McKesson ideaShare 2014, Mark Walchirk, president of McKesson’s U.S. pharmaceutical unit outlined the myriad of opportunities open to community pharmacy today, and how McKesson is investing in its independent pharmacy offerings to help those independents realize every one of those opportunities.
“The pace of change right now in healthcare is as rapid as I’ve experienced in over 25 years,” Walchirk said. “With all that change, it creates both challenges and opportunities,” he said. “We feel very confident that to succeed, McKesson and independent pharmacies have to engage, adapt and take action.”
There are a number of growth factors driving that pace of change, Walchirk said, including the healthcare reform that’s bringing more covered patients into stores; an aging population; growth in specialty and generics; new drug launches; and adherence opportunities. “Adherence opportunities is something I have a personal passion around,” Walchirk said, noting that between 20% and 30% of prescriptions are never filled and half of all prescriptions are not adhered to. “If you can improve adherence by 10%, 20%, 30% in this country, what a huge opportunity that is for growth in prescription pharmaceuticals, and frankly what a huge opportunity that is for the health of our country, to ensure that they take the medications as they’re supposed to based on the therapy.”
But there are challenges, too, Walchirk noted. Challenges such as the growth in preferred networks, reimbursement pressures, a consolidating marketplace and the intense competition for patients.
Walchirk outlined a plan to focus on three key areas to promote independent pharmacy’s success: increase access to those preferred networks, increase traffic in the stores, and drive efficiencies and expand the business opportunities.
Take preferred networks, for example. “Going forward, that’s going to become more and more focused around shifting to performance based networks,” he said. “What will happen in these limited preferred networks is, those stores that perform at a high clinical level associated with Star ratings, or some other metrics in the future, will be able to be part of that network, and perhaps, those stores that are at the bottom of the performance scale will be left out of the network. Quite frankly, that, I believe, is a huge opportunity for independent pharmacy. Because, let’s be honest, it’s difficult for an independent pharmacy owner to compete on a purely cost basis. But it’s not difficult for an independent pharmacy to compete as it relates to the relationship you have with your patients and the opportunity to improve clinical outcomes.”
To help independent pharmacy get there, McKesson has formed initiatives like its “Know your Number” campaign where pharmacies are encouraged to know their Star ratings through EQuIPP, an online information management platform that helps pharmacists measure and understand clinical performance. McKesson also has held 100 town hall meetings across the country to inform independents of their Star ratings. “It’s absolutely critical that you understand this crucial part of reimbursement and how it will impact your business going forward,” Walchirk said
There are also a number of tools available through McKesson to help increase foot traffic at the stores, including Health Mart’s regional advertising suite and the physician outreach program. “These are specific tools that we have to increase foot traffic in your store,” Walchirk said.
McKesson also is making strides to improve efficiency across its generic business. “I will assure you that we’re very focused on making sure we have a complete portfolio, that we’re very competitive on our generic pricing and that we continue to drive sourcing benefits, building scale in our generic purchasing, so that we can help bring that scale and better pricing to all of you.”
Following Walchirk on the stage was Elizabeth Estes, chief idea officer at Ebus Innovation, to speak to ideaShare attendees about good innovation. There are three kinds of innovation, she noted, including disruptive innovation that creates a market where before there were none (e.g., digital medicine), sustaining innovation that augments an existing market (e.g., Google and Novartis’ commitment to develop the contact lens blood-glucose meter) and everyday innovation (e.g., the kind of innovation independent pharmacies employ everyday).
As an example, Bretton and Stay Walberg of Jamestown Pharmacy invested in McKesson’s medication packaging solution and then marketed that solution to their community as a complimentary convenience program. That convenience program, branded Care-Fill, netted the community pharmacy 600 new patients and increased their prescription count by 57%.
Finally, McKesson’s Frank Starn, president of global sourcing, and Steve Courtman, president of Health Mart, welcomed Hashim Zaibak of Hayat Pharmacy to the stage as the 2014 recipient of McKesson’s Pharmacy of the Year award.