PHARMACY

Implementing MTM, med sync services

BY Richard Monks

Privately held since 2005, Shopko operates a wide range of store formats with healthcare offerings, ranging from full-service pharmacies to optical centers. Nearly 30% of Shopko’s sales come from these health-related services.

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Since its inception in 1962, the company has continued to grow and expand its reach, tailoring its various formats to meet the needs of different markets. The 133 stores it operates under the Shopko banner offer shoppers in small and mid-size cities and their suburbs a mixture of general merchandise and pharmacy and optical services across an 80,000-sq.-ft. footprint. Meanwhile, the company’s 178 Shopko Hometown stores average between 15,000 sq. ft. and 35,000 sq. ft., and operate in more rural locations. Most of these stores also offer pharmacy services.

Shopko fills more than 14 million pharmacy prescriptions and in excess of 525,000 optical prescriptions every year, spokeswoman Michelle Hansen said.

Founded by a pharmacist, Shopko has continued to evolve its pharmacy business over the past half century, most recently focusing on professional and personalized services, targeting both acute and chronic patients.

For example, Shopko is committed to medication therapy management at both state and national levels, and was the first chain pharmacy to join the Wisconsin Pharmacy Quality Collaborative, a group of pharmacists and healthcare plans working to create a reimbursement system based on pharmacists’ ability to drive outcomes.

In addition, Shopko’s pharmacies are moving to an appointment-based model by implementing a medication synchronization system.

In March, the company debuted 20 new Shopko Hometown outlets, converting outlets in nine states that it acquired from Alco Stores Inc.

That expansion is only the beginning. “We plan to accelerate new store growth in the second half of 2015 and 2016,” Hansen said.

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PHARMACY

Customizing services for each locale

BY Richard Monks

With more than 520 independently owned stores in nine provinces, Pharmasave has a solid reputation as one of Canada’s most-trusted community drug stores.

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“At the core of our strategy is a personalized, customer-centric approach to healthcare services delivery,” national CEO Carmen Churcott said. “We differentiate ourselves by embracing growing patient expectations for convenient, expanded healthcare services, knowledge and technology and through world-class customer service.”

Pharmasave offers independent pharmacy owners a full suite of operations, merchandising, private label, marketing, human resources and business technology support, as well as professional services, programs and products.

Being a group of independent stores that range in size from small apothecaries to large stores with a broad front-end mix and a brisk dispensary business means that each store owner can tailor its store to the community.

In recent months, Pharmasave has embraced the opportunities presented by the ongoing broadening of pharmacists’ role in patient care and the changes in the way patients interact with healthcare providers.

“This represents a significant opportunity for us to diversify marketing to further drive brand differentiation with consumers,” Churcott said. “Specifically, we have a strong focus on enhancing our digital engagement strategy, with new and more immediate ways of connecting with customers online.”

As part of that effort, Pharmasave last year launched Pharmasave eCare, providing patients with online access to medication records, e-refills, email reminders, personalized health recommendations and a comprehensive library of health information.

Services like this, Churcott said, are helping position Pharmasave to play a more integral role in Canadians’ lives.

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Rexall rebranding well underway

BY Antoinette Alexander

Still fresh from its rebranding, Canada’s Rexall remains in the midst of change as it awaits the arrival of a new CEO.

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“Rexall and our pharmacists are industry leaders when it comes to providing patient-focused services, and we look forward to the opportunity to play an even larger role in the delivery of primary care services to Canadians,” said Warren Jeffery, COO, who has assumed day-to-day operational responsibilities in the wake of the departure of former CEO Frank Scorpiniti last October.

Since the 2012 opening of its first re-brand store, the company has opened more than 50 locations under the new design. And, all of its 460-plus stores have received elements of the rebranding, including new private-label products, refreshed marketing and more health- and-wellness services like its new Blood Pressure Kiosk Blood Pressure Check Card program, which enables patients to record and store their last 10 results.

At the front end, much of the reinvention is playing out in the form of enhanced product offerings, such as its exclusive beauty line called Kit and its flagship private brand, Be.better.

In addition to household, snacks and vitamins, the Be.better collection also includes beauty products that are paraben-free and enriched with natural ingredients.

In other executive news, the company recently welcomed Erik Botines as its new VP pharmacy, responsible for pharmacy programs and initiatives, pharmacy category management and professional programs.

Most recently, Botines was responsible for pharmacy business development, pricing and patient services at Shoppers Drug Mart.

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