McKesson conference explores the future of independent pharmacies

August 10, 2015

Community pharms discuss competitive options at McKesson's ideaShare.

While independent pharmacies face plenty of challenges, McKesson Corporation is there to help them survive and thrive. That was the message of McKesson ideaShare 2015, sponsored by the mammoth pharmaceutical distributor and owner of the 4,000-member Health Mart system of independent pharmacies. 

Dynamic and evolving

“We’re in the middle of one of the most dynamic and evolving times in retail pharmacy and health care overall,” said Mark Walchirk, president of McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical, addressing hundreds of independent pharmacists. “We’re in a time when things are evolving rapidly, and we need to continue to power through.”

In terms of its services to independent pharmacies, McKesson said the company is focusing on the challenges and opportunities presented to pharmacies today. He cited the example of preferred networks.

“Our view was that the preferred/limited network had left the station, and we felt very strongly that it was critical to be on that train for the success of independent pharmacies and member of our network,” he said. “We gained access to three of the top 10 plans. Clearly, we understand this strategy has some implications. Reimbursement rates go down when you go into these preferred networks. But I can assure you we believe it’s the right strategy, and we believe it’s the only strategy.”

Room for growth

On the bright side, he said, independent pharmacies have room for growth as they embrace opportunities to help patients improve their health through medication adherence. And pharmacies of all types hope to boost income, he continued, by proving that they can help payers and providers save money.  

Along those lines, during a media tour of the ideaShare exhibit floor, McKesson officials emphasized the value of the company's revamped Med Sync system.

“Once that patient is in your store,” Walchirk said, the next question is: “How can you take full advantage of your opportunity?”

McKesson officials spotlighted other services as well, such as an improved model pharmacy and new marketing opportunities.

In the big picture, Walchirk said, “we’ll continue to help you run your business as efficiently and productively as possible.”