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McKesson Canada fills Uniprix retail post

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SAINT-LAURENT, Quebec — Alain Arel has been named president of Uniprix and Proxim, both of which are owned by McKesson Canada.

The acquisition of 330-store Uniprix by McKesson Canada was completed this month. Proxim, with over 2,000 pharmacies, including more than 275 in Quebec, represents the largest network of independent pharmacist-owners in Canada.

Alain Arel_Uniprix_Proxim

Alain Arel

Arel will continue reporting to of McKesson Canada retail banner group senior vice president Rick Brennan, and assume leadership for the retail banner group segment in Quebec.

“Alain Arel brings deep knowledge of the retail pharmacy sector in Quebec, and a proven track record of delivering results to independent pharmacy owners,” commented Philippe Duval, who had been Uniprix’ president and chief executive officer. Duval has agreed to continue in a senior advisory role to ensure a smooth transition.

“It is a privilege to take on this exciting new role,” said Arel. “With McKesson Canada, Uniprix will be able to ensure a positive future for independent pharmacists and continue to be a destination of choice for health care in ­Quebec.”

Uniprix owners in April agreed to the buyout, which, Duval called “a positive step towards ensuring long-term, sustainable success for Uniprix owners.” McKesson Canada had bid for Uniprix in 2009 but withdrew the offer when the chain’s pharmacists voted against the deal.

The combination of Uniprix and Proxim makes McKesson Canada the largest drug store operator in Quebec, surpassing the Jean Coutu Group, which has 382 pharmacies.

McKesson Canada, Uniprix and Proxim will “leverage our shared expertise to deliver better care and value to patients across the province and strengthen independent pharmacy in Quebec” said McKesson Canada president Paula Keays.

Uniprix, which perennially ranks among the most admired companies in Quebec, has been touting a new pharmacy concept that was slated to be rolled out in selected cities in the province this year. The concept, dubbed “the pharmacy of tomorrow,” places a focus on products and services promoting well-being and, disease ­prevention.


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