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McKesson Canada bolsters pharmacy banners

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MONTREAL — McKesson Canada pharmacies are forging ahead under the leadership of new senior vice president of retail banner management services Richard Brennan.

McKesson Canada IDA store_featuredThis year Brennan was named to head the company’s growing pharmacy banner business, including Guardian, I.D.A., Medicine Shoppe Canada, Proxim and the newly acquired Remedy’sRx. He reports to McKesson Canada president Alain Champagne, and he will become a key member of the company’s Canadian executive team.

The pickup this year of Remedy’sRx raised the store count to nearly 2,000. That followed last year’s gain in membership of close to 100 new members.

In 2014 members purchased eight Shoppers Drug Mart stores that had to be divested when SDM was acquired by Loblaw Cos. The stores are large, but McKesson Canada has adapted its planograms to the space. It established large home health care sections to demonstrate its commitment to meeting patients’ needs in the home. The stores have been successful and well received, said Dale Weil, who had been the banners’ interim leader.

The banner program overall is continuing to grow, she said, “and we expect that kind of momentum in the next year as well. We’re all about providing access to health care, and we’re not having trouble attracting independent owners who share that vision.”

The banners are focused foremost on customized care, added Weil, who is continuing on with McKesson Canada as a special advisor to the president. “Indeed, much of what our members do centers on helping patients optimize their drug therapies as well as minimize side effects with advice, meds reviews, clinic days and other professional services,” she said.

McKesson Canada Guardian Rx areaThe expansion of the scope of practice in Canada is also allowing members to provide valuable public health services for their communities, such as immunizations and travel health medicine, she added. They understand that the business of pharmacy is changing, and welcome the expanded scope “as a very natural extension of what they currently do.”

McKesson Canada has a tremendous opportunity, as a banner group, to provide the membership with capabilities to take patient care to the next level through programs, technology or best practices, said Weil. It is also helping its pharmacists to fully value the totality of their selling space by encouraging them to play an even more proactive role in the over-the-counter drug and home health care space. “It is important to remember that, for patients, a pharmacy is a pharmacy,” said Weil. “It is not the combination of dispensary and a front shop.”

Last year, Guardian, I.D.A., Proxim and Medicine Shoppe pharmacies partnered with the Arthritis Society to launch an exclusive pain management program under the diem therapeutic brand. The program entails a wide range of tailored health services to support Canadians living with arthritis directly in their communities.

Champagne thanked Weil “for demonstrating passion and energy.” He said: “Her leadership has contributed to ensuring a positive market position for our pharmacy banners, and will contribute to an effective transition for Richard.”

Brennan “will bring his expertise and strong leadership philosophy to our retail banner operations,” Champagne added.

Brennan has been with McKesson Canada for 14 years, taking on roles of increasing responsibility. Prior to joining the company, he spent 18 years at SDM, where he played a number of leadership roles with a focus on driving merchandising and operational excellence.

Richard joins other recently appointed senior executives, including Todd Baldanzi, senior vice president and chief financial officer; Paula Keays, senior vice president of pharmaceutical distribution and operations; and Dimitris Polygenis, senior vice president of purchasing and manufacturer solutions.


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