Wendy future of retail top

McKesson extends pharmacy’s influence

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McKesson Corp. is going from strength to strength as it realigns the team that provides support to pharmacy operators across the country. In the wake of Chris Dimos’ retirement as president of retail solutions, the drug wholesaler has named Nimesh Jhaveri president of community pharmacy, and Eyad Farah president of Health Mart and Health Mart Atlas. The appointments are part of a restructuring designed to bring together all of the company’s assets that buttress the retail pharmacy sector.

Nimesh Jhaveri

Nimesh Jhaveri

“Our intention is to provide end-to-end solutions for independent pharmacies, as well as chains, that support their operational and clinical strength,” says Jhaveri, who joined McKesson in 2018 as president of Health Mart, after spending 29 years at Walgreens. In addition to Health Mart and Health Mart Atlas, Jhaveri now oversees field sales and operations; independent national accounts; development and innovation related to the future of pharmacy; and emerging ­channels.

New to McKesson, the last function is, in the words of Jhaveri, focused on “this digital pharmacy and health care space that we believe is here to stay. We’re going to have a team that wakes up every morning and thinks about how we can support that area and how those new technologies can support all of our community pharmacy customers.”

As Jhaveri’s successor as Health Mart president, Farah assumes responsibility for a franchised network of more than 5,000 independent drug stores, as well as Health Mart Atlas, McKesson’s pharmacy services administrative organization (PSAO). Trained as a pharmacist in Israel, where he worked for Super-Pharm before moving to the United States, Farah was instrumental in developing Health Mart Atlas’ centralized managed care solutions, which are currently used by more than 7,000 independents and small and medium-size chains.

Eyad Farah

Eyad Farah

“The market is changing and evolving, and community pharmacy needs a strong partner now more than ever,” he says. “We have the ability to wrap all of the value-added solutions and tools around our customers to help pharmacies of all kinds be successful and grow their business. That’s really the idea behind bringing all of the franchise, PSAO, McKesson’s consumer products group, and future of pharmacy initiatives — how do we become the best partner for all community ­pharmacy.

“We’re building the capability so that it extends to all of pharmacy, but we want to continue to drive the differentiation towards Health Mart and Health Mart Atlas. The more our pharmacies are partnering with us and engaged in our solutions, the more they can continue to thrive.”

The new organizational structure should enhance the impact and effectiveness of McKesson’s ongoing work in retail pharmacy. With the addition of a team dedicated to emerging channels, it will extend its influence into new domains.

“There are a lot of these new players that are coming into the pharmacy arena, trying to do the right thing to help patients by creating a new kind of convenience in terms of obtaining their medications,” says Jhaveri. “In some cases, telemedicine is being used by these companies to bring health care directly to patients,” he says.

“What we aim to do is to match the physical and the digital worlds together through partnerships, through companies that are doing this well, and bring that capability to the patients and customers of our community pharmacies. At the same time, we want to bring the practitioner face to face with patients through some of these newer digital companies. It really becomes a very symbiotic relationship.”

Having started his career as a pharmacist, Jhaveri emphasizes that maintaining a personal relationship with patients will remain a pillar of the profession.

“It is not simply about technology, it is not simply about the human, it is the connection of the two of them that will create an experience that will change health care forever,” he predicts. “We’re seeing that today with COVID. The pandemic has accelerated the use of digital tools, but, at the same time, you see over and over again that patients are still eager to see their pharmacist or their nurse practitioner or their physician. We’re trying to create a value proposition that encompasses all of those things for the benefit of patients and the entire health care ­ecosystem.”

That philosophy is in sync with changes already under way, according to Farah. One result of the transition will be a bigger role for community ­pharmacy.

“We’re going to continue to see the shift to a patient-centric environment where people get what they need, where they need it, when they need it,” he says. “The pharmacy and the pharmacist are the most accessible health care providers. It’s the natural place where we can make more and more treatments and more and more services easily accessible. It’s a natural evolution.”


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